Thousands Join Anti-corruption Protests in Tel Aviv for Sixth Week in a Row

Protesters chant, 'The people want legal justice,' and carry signs reading, 'Corrupt ones, go home'; smaller demonstrations take place across northern Israel

Anti-corruption protesters hold signs reading, "Corrupt ones, go home," at a rally in Tel Aviv, January 6, 2018
Moti Milrod

Thousands protested against corruption in Tel Aviv on Saturday in the sixth consecutive weekly demonstration in the city since the marches moved there from Petah Tikva. Protesters marched from at Habima Square toward the city's government complex.

Protesters held signs against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chanted, "The people want legal justice," and carried signed reading, "Corrupt ones, go home."

Referring to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, Eldad Yaniv, one of the protest organizers, said: "Mendelblit thinks that if he puts this off until Passover, we won't be in the streets. He's clearly confused. We'll be here Saturday night after Saturday night, because we know the truth – they are afraid of tens of thousands in the streets." Manny Naftali, another of the organizers, added that the Israeli people "won't be quiet until the corruption disappears."

"I really believe that the police know how to investigate, they just need to be allowed to investigate as they know how," said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Meir Gilboa, one of the speakers at the rally. "Corruption isn't just criminal. There's a lot of other things that are corrupt, and they're not criminal offenses. We're here for that as well. We are protesting against corruption, not only if it ends with a conviction. The corrupt ones have for years been chasing after those investigating them."

"Corruption is like rust, it eats away from at iron slowly, until everything collapses," said Uzi Arad, a former national security adviser who spoke at the protest. "This is what threatens to destroy the pillars of social justice, of the government, of democracy and everything on which democracy stands."

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism who also spoke in Tel Aviv, said that "the rallies taking place throughout Israel in the past months are the best gift. These rallies bear witness to the concern felt by millions of Israelis for the future of the state."

Demonstrations also took place in a number of cities and towns in northern Israel, with 300 participants in Afula, 200 in Haifa and 200 at Karkur Junction near Pardes Hannah, and dozens demonstrating in Rosh Pina and at Tzemah Junction near Lake Kinneret.

The number of protesters has decreased in recent weeks. During the first few weeks of the rallies, tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in a number of different locations. More recently, only thousands have been coming to the rallies.