Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Brave Drenchers to Hold Weekly Rallies

Despite heavy rainfalls that battered Israel over the weekend, protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, now in their 22nd week, continued around the country on Saturday night, November 21. As in the past, activists from Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel participated in the weekly protests.

Demonstrators near the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, November 21, 2020

Demonstrators near the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, November 21, 2020 (Photo: Crime Minister)

The largest demonstrations were next to the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, where several thousand people gathered. Police detained five people during the rally and an activist, Rutty Zukerman, 66, was taken for medical treatment after being shoved to the ground by a cop. During the Jerusalem protest, an undercover police officer arrested prominent Israeli political activist Sadi Ben-Shitrit of the Crime Minister movement, after allegedly telling the pro-Netanyahu activist to leave the area. The Crime Minister movement responded in a statement, saying “Business as usual for the Jerusalem police who continue to abuse protesters and hunt down protest leaders.”

In Caesarea, near the premier’s private home, some 2,000 people were reported to have rallied, after controversy in the exclusive coastal city earlier this week that saw supporters of the prime minister assault the family of a fallen Israeli soldier for hosting a group of anti-Netanyahu protesters. During the protest in Caesarea, some pro-Netanyahu activists called the demonstrators “traitors,” and “Arab bastards.”. Several hundred people protested in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and in Haifa. In a small protest near the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, pro-Netanyahu activists threw a rock through the windshield of a parked car belonging to an anti-Netanyahu protester.

Protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were held also on Thursday evening, November 19, at sites across the country. Demonstrators held marches in Tel Aviv, Holon, Ra’anana and Kfar Saba. Smaller rallies were also held at a number of highway overpasses and major intersections around the country.

Haaretz reported on Wednesday, November 18. officers in police intelligence units are monitoring the WhatsApp groups used by protesters to coordinate the demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the report, police are also scanning social media networks to gather intelligence on protest leaders and are hunting for “offensive” statements about the police and identifying what they believe are plans to carry out criminal acts. The report said the intelligence work appeared to be centered on protesters demonstrating in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the coastal region including Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, and the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin, home to Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The police are also expected to submit indictments against leaders of the protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming days, Haaretz reported Saturday, November 20. The indictments are expected to be for offenses such as obstructing an on-duty officer and violence against police officers.

Many of the indictments are for offenses allegedly committed at protests against Netanyahu a few months ago. Among those against whom indictments are expected are Gonen Ben Yitzhak, Yishai Hadas and other leaders of protest movements. Ben Yitzhak is civil rights lawyer who handcuffed himself to a police water cannon in July, attempting to block it from spraying the demonstrators. Police have been recommending dozens of indictments be issued in the past few months against anti-Netanyahu protesters.