Protest groups have announced they will resume demonstrations outside the prime minister's residence Saturday, the first large-scale protests there since demonstrations were curbed two weeks ago during Israel's second coronavirus lockdown.
The announcement comes one day after the government told the High Court of Justice it did not intend to extend the “special state of emergency” set to expire at midnight. This allowed the governmnent to legally compel protesters to remain within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of their homes.
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On Tuesday, protest groups called on the public to join the demonstrations being held around the country in the next few days.
The Black Flag movement has called on the police to remove fencing around streets near Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem and urged supporters to arrive in full force both on Saturday and to the hundreds of demonstrations Thursday.
“Come and open a new page in which you allow us to protest safely,” the group said in a statement addressed to the police.
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“Over the past month, all Israelis have realized that an indicted prime minister is a sure recipe for disaster. Netanyahu is leading Israel to the destruction of the Third Temple; 35 billion shekels [$10.3 billion] of our tax money is being thrown away because Netanyahu wanted to stop the demonstrations.
“The lives of families have been destroyed and businesses closed, and Netanyahu intends to do everything to skirt his approaching trial. Israelis have come out en masse in recent weeks out of a desire to save Israel, and we are calling on them to continue to do so and come to Balfour to replace Netanyahu.”
On Monday, the Health Ministry told the Justice Ministry it would not recommend a renewal of the order restricting demonstrations, even if there was no immediate easing of the overall lockdown.
The restrictions were extended last week, and if they are not extended again the police will be unable to prevent protesters from taking part in demonstrations anywhere around the country. But protesters will still be required to stay 2 meters apart and demonstrate in groups of up to 20 people.
Other protest groups such as Crime Minister and Ein Matzav (No Way) also called on the public to join the protest near the prime minister’s residence. Crime Minister said its tens of thousands of followers from all over the country would demonstrate there every Saturday night until Netanyahu leaves.
Ein Matzav said it would seek to expand a protest tent camp near Netanyahu’s residence; it also called for a quarter of a million Israelis to protest on Saturday night, October 24.
“Now that the defendant Netanyahu has surrendered to our pressure and canceled the ban on demonstrations, we will increase the pressure on him more and more,” it said.
The group Arise Israel said it was returning to protest at Balfour Street, the site of the prime minister's residence, because the government’s mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis was leading the country to an economic catastrophe.
Costa Black, a member of that group, said it would be no surprise if a million Israelis can’t make a living, half of them young people who are beginning their lives with debts and without work.
“This failed government and the person who heads it have lost the public’s trust completely because they don’t care about Israelis and are killing our future,” Black said.
As a result, the group says it will take to the streets until the government is changed and a commission of inquiry on the government’s failures during the pandemic is set up.
A protest convoy of cars passing through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is scheduled for Wednesday. It will be called the Submarine Convoy and demand an investigation into the alleged improprieties in Israel’s purchase of naval vessels from a German company.
The so-called young people’s protest movement, a coalition of a number of groups, said it would hold a march in Tel Aviv on Thursday, not Tuesday. The march will be held along with hundreds of other protests all over Israel, even if the 1-kilometer restriction is extended, the coalition said.