thousands of protesters against the government in Tel Aviv

Thousands of Israelis demonstrate Saturday evening in the center of Tel Aviv to proclaim their rejection of the policy of the ruling coalition combining right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which they fear will drift undemocratically.

The demonstrators are gathered at the call of an anti-corruption organization, around slogans calling for “save democracy“and to prevent”the overthrow of the regimepolicy in force in Israel since the creation of the country in 1948.

Center and left parties and the alliance of Arab parties Hadash-Taal had called on Israelis to demonstrate, in particular against the justice reform presented on January 4 by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sued in several cases of alleged corruption.

They also demand the resignation of the head of government because of these affairs. To this are added other dissatisfied people: opponents of Israeli colonization in the West Bank, or LGBTQ defense movements worried about the presence within the government of openly homophobic ministers.

The atmosphere was good-natured, many Israelis having come with their families despite the rain, AFP journalists noted.

The signs held up by the demonstrators gathered in Habima Square reflected the diversity of demands: “The time has come to bring down the dictator», «government of shame», «There is no democracy with the occupation», «Bibi doesn’t want democracy, we don’t need fascists in the Knesset», «Iran is here», «You will love the other as yourselfwritten in Hebrew and Arabic.

Instigator of the demonstration, the Black Flag Movement had supported a long-running protest campaign against Mr. Netanyahu from July 2020 to June 2021 to demand his resignation because of the corruption scandals in which he is involved.

Leader of the Likud, the great party of the Israeli right, and holder of the record for longevity at the head of the Israeli government, Mr. Netanyahu was ousted from power in 2021 by a motley electoral coalition which lasted less than a year.

At the end of December, he assumed the helm of a new government following the legislative elections in November, the fifth in four years, the results of which bear witness to the fragmentation of the electorate and the internal divisions of Israeli society.

Several speakers must follow one another on the platform in front of the demonstrators on Habima Square. Among them, former defense minister Benny Gantz (centre-right) who called out on Twitter on Friday “all of the Israeli people from left and right to come and demonstrate for the preservation of Israeli democracy“. “It is a civic duty of the first order“, he added.

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