Demonstrations were held last night in various parts of Israel in protest against corruption in government. In Tel Aviv, thousands of people gathered in Rothschild Boulevard, although the numbers were not as high as on the previous Saturday night in the same location. Last night the crowd was younger, many holding placards with slogans such as “Sweeping Away Corruption”, and “Not Right, Not Left – Just Straight”.
The proximity to the Hanukah festival of lights that begins this week served the demonstrators well, as they sang songs about light banishing darkness associated with the festival.
The police presence was thin, and the demonstration was calm, even dull, until the police decided to shut down the generator powering the lights and sound system on the stage, and to bar speeches. The reason was lack of an engineer’s certificate. This roused the crowd somewhat, some of whom went to block the nearby main thoroughfare of Ibn Gabirol Street.
Meni Naftali, the former caretaker at the prime minister’s residence who successfully sued for ill treatment in the job, and who has been leading the campaign to pressure Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to decide on indictments in the various corruption cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides, said, “This time it won’t end as it did in 2011”, referring to the social protest that took place that year, “We’ll be here next week and we’ll double the number. Stop the disgrace, the country doesn’t belong to Netanyahu’s gang. Bibi is afraid of demonstrations. Trump said Jerusalem is the capital, and Bibi tried to impede this demonstration, but it’s happening.”
Lawyer Eldad Yaniv, who has been leading the protest together with Naftali, said, “It’s not just getting rid of Bibi. We want a new contract. To get rid of all the corrupt people. No more politicians taking bribes. We'll keep coming every Saturday night. If we carry on like this until January, Bibi goes.”
The Likud party issued a statement saying, “On an evening when Prime Minister Netanyahu is leaving to represent Israel against the attacks on the historic declaration of President Trump, and at a time when throughout the Arab world demonstrations are taking place in which they burn the Israeli and US flags, again this evening in Tel Aviv there’s a demonstration by the left. Instead of uniting with the entire nation behind Jerusalem and presenting a united front to the world, on the left they couldn’t hold back, preferring to deal in factionalism.”
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said in a Twitter post, “A corrupt government has to go. Again this week, our young people went out to demonstrate with the thousands in the streets against the corrupt culture of the government. Despite the attempts to make it one, corruption is not a political issue. It’s not a matter of left or right; it’s a plague that affects the security, health and education of voters of the right and left alike.”
Demonstrations also took place in Nahariya, Rosh Pina, Haifa, Afula, Hadera, Netanya, Rishon Lezion, Nes Ziona and Rehovot, Modi’in, Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat, and Beersheva.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 10, 2017
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