Thousands join Tel Aviv 'March of Shame'

Demonstrators in Rothschild Boulevard  photo: Udi Pridan

Protesters against the 'Police Recommendations Bill' and government corruption filled Rothschild Boulevard and Habima Square.

A demonstration took place in Tel Aviv last night against the 'Recommendations Bill', the bill that in its current version will forbid publication of Israel Police's recommendation of whether or not to pursue an indictment at the conclusion of a criminal trial. If enacted, the bill will apply retroactively to cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For the past year, regular demonstrations have been taking place outside the Petah Tikva home of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, in protest at the slow progress in investigations of government corruption, some of them involving Netanyahu. Last week, because of the controversial bill, it was decided to hold the protest in Tel Aviv instead. The demonstration began outside the building on Rothschild Boulevard in which the State of Israel was declared (now the Museum of Independence), and ended with a march to Habima Square. The demonstration was billed as "The March of Shame".

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have participated in the demonstration, carrying placards and shouting slogans protesting against alleged corruption. Among the organizers of the demonstration were Adv. Eldad Yaniv, and Meni Naftali, the former caretaker at the prime minister's residence Meni Naftali who was awarded NIS 170,000 when he sued for mistreatment in the job. Naftali tweeted that the next demonstration would be in Rabin Square, the venue of Tel Aviv's largest demonstrations in the past.

The main speakers last night were Uzi Arad, who between 2009 and 2011 Arad served as Netanyahu's National Security Advisor and as head of the National Security Council, and Amiram Levin, former commander of IDF Northern Command. Referring to the investigation into alleged bribery in the procurement of submarines for the Israel Navy, Arad said, "Corruption has reached the place where you and all of us send our children. How far will it continue?" He said he had been moved by the sight of a swarm of people joining the demonstration. "I'm not used to this kind of occasion, and it's strange for me to be speaking here. But the corruption has reached such dimensions that citizens must stand up."

"Corruption is not a disease but a symptom of a government and elected representatives who have been too long in power and who feel sure that mistakes carry no price, the symptom of a leadership that has forgotten who pays it and for whom it is supposed to work," said Levin. "I know Netanyahu, I was his commander, and I say to him today, stop now. These are not the values we fought for. History will not forget what you are trying to do.

"To all the members of the government and the coalition – those who stay silent, the cowards, the flatterers, and the yes-men - I say to you, you won't be able to say you didn't see, you didn't hear, and you didn't know," Levin concluded.

Police closed off streets around Rothschild Boulevard and Habima Square, after many more people turned up to the demonstration than had been expected.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 3, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Demonstrators in Rothschild Boulevard  photo: Udi Pridan
Demonstrators in Rothschild Boulevard photo: Udi Pridan
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