Israelis take part in a protest against corruption in Tel Aviv, Israel December 2, 2017..
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
Thousands of protesters gathered on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Saturday night to demand transparency and accountability in government, in response to recent legislation banning the police from recommending indictments against elected officials.
Standing near the historic site where David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel, Hagai Peled and his wife, Tushia, said they traveled from Hadera to attend the protest.
“It’s almost like a monarchy here now,” said Hagai, amid drumbeats and chants of “Stop the corruption!” “What’s going on with our government is going to silence the voices of everyone here in Israel so that no one can complain or say anything, so we want to protest,” he continued.
Tushia added: “Now, they’re trying to stop the police from recommending indictments against them, and this is a big problem because we won’t be able to do anything about the prime minister’s corruption or even inquire about it.”
Alex, who requested his last name not be published, traveled to the protest from Rehovot. He said the ban was the last straw in a series of other recent government mandates.
“This is dangerous because the government is trying to hide everything to protect themselves,” he said.
Yasmin Ruvin, of Netanya, said the recent legislation poses a direct threat to Israel’s democracy.
“I think this government is passing laws that are making a laughing stock of the democracy of Israel,” she said. “There are many new laws that are anti-democratic that are designed to protect the government. I think democracy is one of the most important things we have here, so we need to protest.
“Stopping the police from doing their jobs is just the latest in a trend that is getting worse, and it’s creating a situation that is awful for Israeli democracy,” she added.
Efraim Ruveni, of Petah Tikva, expressed similar sentiments.
“They [elected officials] have to tell the truth to the people or Israel will no longer be free,” he said.