Anti-Netanyahu protests were held Saturday evening, December 19, across Israel, six months after the start of weekly mass demonstrations against the far-right premier. The protesters, rallying for the 26th straight week, are calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation over his indictment on graft charges and handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic and social crisis.
In Jerusalem, some 2,000 protesters marched from the Chords Bridge at the main entrance to the city to Paris Square, next to the Prime Minister’s Residence. Along with the main demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, protests were held in Tel Aviv, and outside Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where Netanyahu received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on live television Saturday evening, the first Israeli to be vaccinated. As Netanyahu was being vaccinated, some 300 people protested outside the hospital. “The guy’s come to get vaccinated as if he’s going to be our salvation,” one protester told Channel 12. “He’s come here to do his show; his spin… the personal example of a man suspected of bribery, criminality and breach of trust is pathetic and unneeded.”
Smaller rallies also took place at highway overpasses and intersections around the country, as well as outside the Rosh Ha’ayin home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s coalition partner. Demonstrations also took place in Arab towns in the Galilee and the Triangle, where Hadash and Communist Party activists held “red flag protests” calling on Netanyahu to resign because of his incitement of racism and the corruption charges for which he has been indicted and is currently on trial.
Earlier, the Black Flags protest group said in a statement: “In the last six months we’ve gone through two lockdowns and are on the way to a third only because the defendant is busy 24/7 with his trial, tax breaks for himself and petty politics. This will not change. Gantz must choose: The good of the country or what’s good for him personally.”