Hundreds March Against Corruption in Tel Aviv: 'We Demand Netanyahu's Resignation'

Knesset Member Ilan Gilon: 'Netanyahu has lost the legitimacy to lead.'

A protest against corruption in Tel Aviv. The sign, showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a cigar rocket, says 'go home!'
Ofer Vaknin

Hundreds rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday against government corruption, responding to the graft investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The march, which began at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters and ended at Rabin Square, was organized by the Zionist Union and Meretz parties, as well as the Labor Youth movement.

Addressing the demonstrators, Deputy Knesset Speaker Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) accused cabinet ministers of being "full-time advocates" for Netanyahu, instead of representing Israelis' interests.

"It's time to say without fear: Enough with the corruption. Enough with the shame," he said. "The government, headed by Netanyahu, lost its direction a long time ago. Residents of Israel, you deserve more."  

A rally against corruption in Tel Aviv, January 14, 2017. The sign says 'A corrupt government needs to go.'
Ofer Vaknin

MK Ilan Gilon, chairman of the Meretz Knesset faction, said: "The conflicts of interest and the dirty, cynical practices that emanate from recordings published over the past 24 hours only point to the depth of the rot that emerged during the years of Netanyahu's rule. He no longer has the legitimacy to continue and lead the state, which is why we are on the street today to demand his immediate resignation."   

According to a fellow Meretz lawmaker, MK Michal Rozen, the march's goal was to "demand that the public decency destroyed under Netanyahu's administration be restored. We will not stand idly by as Israel's democracy is turned into an oligarchy."

MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) warned that if the investigations into Netanyahu "fail to turn into at least two indictments, there will be a public uprising."

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) said "we've had enough of the governmental decay and corruption. Take the cigars, champagne and the corruption and let us be so that the Israeli society can heal," she said in reference alleged gifts received by Netanyahu by wealthy businessmen.

On Saturday, Channel 2 reported new details into the alleged negotiations held between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes. According to the report, the two spoke about potential journalists the newspaper could hire to shift coverage in Netanyahu's favor. According to the report, Mozes told Netanyahu that "we need to make sure you will be prime minister."