Anti-Netanyahu Protests Return to Streets for First Time since Election

Dozens of anti-Netanyahu protesters from a number of organizations gathered on Friday, April 2, outside the homes of party heads Naftali Bennett, Gideon Sa’ar, Ayman Odeh and Benny Gantz calling on them not to form a government with far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The anti-Netanyahu protest groups also announced that they will be continuing to protest against Netanyahu until he leaves office, specifically returning to the streets over the April 2-3 weekend for the first time since the March 23 elections.

MK Ayman Odeh met with protesters outside his Haifa home, Friday, April 2, 2021.

MK Ayman Odeh met with protesters outside his Haifa home, Friday, April 2, 2021. (Photo: Crime Minister)

Protests against Netanyahu, the occupation, and governmental and police inaction against crime and violence in the Arab community in Israel took place on Friday in Ness Ziona, Umm al-Fahm, Kafr Qasim, Jaljulia, and in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem. On Saturday, a protest took place in Haifa.

Netanyahu’s trial on three counts of corruption will resume this week. The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Thursday, April 1, that the PM defendant must attend the session in which the prosecution will present its opening arguments in the trial’s evidentiary stage. However, the judges exempted Netanyahu from having to be present in the courtroom during the testimony of the former editor of the Walla News website, Ilan Yeshua, a witness in the bribery case known as Case 4000. Evidentiary hearings of Netanyahu’s trial will be held three times a week, Monday through Wednesday, from 9 am until 3:30 pm.

On the backdrop of Netanyahu’s renewed trial and the Knesset parties’ consultations with President Rubin Rivlin on Monday and Tuesday, April 5-6, to recommend the president’s giving a mandate to an MK to attempt to form a new government, a protest convoy will make its way this week from Latrun to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem and from there to outside the PM’s official residence in Jerusalem and the city’s District Court. The protestors will bear a large, inflated submarine model representing Case 3000, linked to allegations of bribery in the purchase of three German-made submarines by Israel.

Yet another protest will be held in front of the Knesset on Tuesday against the far-right and homophobic Religious Zionist party which is leaning towards recommending Netanyahu to form the next government. However, the Noam faction of that party has announced a series of conditions for its joining a Netanyahu coalition, including a demand that he agree to a range of reactionary reforms, including rolling back gender-equality protections. Noam’s leader, Rabbi Avi Maoz, who will be sworn in as an MK on Tuesday along with Israeli’s other 119 parliamentarians, is known for his racist and pro-occupation policies and has campaigned fiercely against all forms of LGBT rights in Israel. He has campaigned on “strengthening the Jewish character of the State of Israel” by having stricter national observance of the Sabbath, tightening the Orthodox Rabbinate’s monopoly over religious life, injecting religious law into broader society and promoting “family values.” This faction also says it will demand that the new coalition amend Government Resolution 2331 — based on a UN resolution — aimed at promoting gender equality in public institutions.