Seven Arrested at Hundreds Strong anti-Netanyahu Protest

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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A protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, June 26, 2020
A protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, June 26, 2020Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Seven protesters were arrested on Friday near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Residence in Jerusalem during a demonstration against the prime minister.

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Among those arrested was protest leader Amir Haskel, a retired Air Force brigadier general, who has been organizing demonstrations around the country demanding that Netanyahu resign in light of his criminal indictments. 

Four of the arrested protesters were released after signing a restraining order Friday night that bars them from Jerusalem, but three – including Haskel – refused to do so and remain in custody. A hearing on extending their detention is expected to take place Saturday night. 

At the same time, an additional protest outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem is scheduled for Saturday evening, demanding that the three protesters be released without a restraining order or additional conditions.

Hundreds of people attended the protest against Netanyahu Friday night, which have been occuring intermittently for the past two weeks.

Some of the protesters entered a nearby street to the Prime Minister's Residence carrying a sculpture of a submarine and called for a committee to investigate Netanyahu's part in the so-called "submarine affair." 

During the protest, Haskel gave a speech saying that "There is no way that Israel's prime minister can act under criminal indictment." After he was arrested, other protesters blocked the street.

"Once they took Amir, we went with him, stood around the police and yelled to release him. There is nothing wrong with what he did. The police's behavior is unacceptable," said Roy Peled, one of the organizers of the rally.

Following Haskel's arrest, the organizers called for more protesters to join them. "I heard that Amir was arrested and I immediately said that we must go to Jerusalem," said Avi Ofer, who joined the protest after Haskel was taken in.

According to police, the protesters were arrested "on suspicion of disrupting public order and other offenses." Others were dispersed with the use of force. The protesters who were arrested remain in police custody.

"I could have lived a much more comfortable life, but I do it for my children and grandchildren," Haskel told Haaretz. "The example in front of me is Moti Ashkenazi," he said, referring to the leader of protests against the Golda Meir government after the Yom Kippur War.

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