Hundreds of Protesters Call for Netanyahu's Resignation Outside Prime Minister's Residence

Protest organizer tells Haaretz 'We have nothing against the right, we're just against corruption,' calling for Netanyahu to step down amid his three corruption indictments

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
A protester outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem holds up a sign reading "Bribery! Fraud! Breach of trust!", June 16, 2020.
A protester outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem holds up a sign reading "Bribery! Fraud! Breach of trust!", June 16, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Hundreds of people demonstrated Friday night outside the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding he resign in light of the corruption indictments against him.

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Since last Thursday, demonstrators have been a near-permanent fixture outside the prime minister's official residence on Jerusalem's Balfour Street. On Friday evening, they held Shabbat prayers there.

"The worst thing that Netanyahu has done to us is the division and the incitement," said the protest's leader, Amir Haskel. "Our goal is to start here, on Balfour, with rehabilitation and unity. Shabbat is a symbol of unity," he added. On the other side of the road, a handful of right-wing protesters gathered to express support for the prime minister.

Protesters outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem

In January, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit indicted Netanyahu for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three cases. Case 1000 involves lavish gifts that the prime minister allegedly received. Case 2000 involves contacts between Netanyahu and the publisher of the Yedioth Aharonoth daily, Arnon Mozes, in which the prime minister is alleged to have offered legislation favorable to Yedioth in exchange for favorable news coverage for the prime minister. Case 4000 involves allegations of beneficial regulatory treatment for the Bezeq telecommunications firm in exchange for favorable news coverage for Netanyahu on Bezeq’s Walla news website through alleged contacts with Bezeq’s controlling shareholder at the time, Shaul Elovitch, and with Elovitch’s wife, Iris.

Haskel told Haaretz that he comes at the protest from the standpoint of morals and values. "It never would have occurred to me that the prime minister would be a man indicted for crimes. No proper country would tolerate that," he said.

He paraphrased what Netanyahu once told former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who himself was indicted on three corruption charges. "A prime minister who is up to his neck in criminal investigations has no moral mandate to make decisions on the coronavirus, the economic crisis and annexation. He tried to say that there's an attempt by the left to overthrow the government, but we have nothing against the right," he said. "We're just against corruption."

On Thursday, a 19-year-old was arrested in Jerusalem after he threatened to stab protesters outside the prime minister's residence. In videos of the altercation, in which it is unclear who incited it, the teenager is seen grasping a sharp object and threatening a protester, saying "Soon I'll stab you in the face. I'll stab you a thousand times."

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