|Tzipi Livni at anti-unity government protest 370.(Photo by: Ben Hartman)|
In TA, J'lem, protestors rally against unity gov't
By BEN HARTMAN AND MELANIE LIDMAN
Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem hours after Kadima joins coalition; Livni: Young people deserve value-based politics.
The people of Israel deserve a better political system, former Kadima leader
Tzipi Livni said Tuesday at a rally in Tel Aviv against the deal struck Monday
night to bring Kadima into the Likud-led government.
“I was invited here
tonight by young people protesting against what they are seeing. They deserve a
political system of values, not just of seats,” Livni said, adding that she came
to embrace the protesters, before leaving.
In regards to Kadima head
Shaul Mofaz, she said: “I said all I had to say when I resigned from the
Police arrested at least seven people, including a Haaretz
reporter and a photographer from Israel HaYom, both of whom were released
shortly thereafter without charges.
Tel Aviv city councilman Yoav
Goldring was also arrested during the protest.
The protest was held under
the banner “We are all the opposition,” and was organized after news broke of
the national unity government deal late Monday night.
One of the
organizers, Yonatan Levi, said the coalition deal was “one of worst slaps in the
face ever to the Israeli public,” and decried what he said was the hypocrisy of
Mofaz, who called Netanyahu a liar in the months before joining the
Levi, who was one of the main organizers of the summer’s mass
“social justice” protests, said that before Monday he and others were planning
to focus the upcoming summer’s protests on the elections previously set for
September 4. However, in light of Monday night’s deal, they will focus on
bringing people back to the streets with the message “that this government must
go, they only survive on dirty tricks and they have to leave.”
demonstration showed many traits from the summer’s protests, including calls for
Netanyahu to resign, and a few chants comparing him to former Egyptian president
Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar Assad, as well as Russian President
Meanwhile in downtown Jerusalem, around 200 people
gathered carrying signs that read “If the government is against the people, the
people are against the government!”
Like in Tel Aviv, protesters recycled many
of the chants from last summer’s social protests, including calls for Netanyahu
“Young people say, ‘If this is politics, we don’t want
anything do to with this,’” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former social and
diaspora affairs minister and the chief rabbi of Norway. “So many red lines were
crossed in the past 24 hours.”
“Even though I’m critical of the social
protests from last summer, the situation in Israel is insufferable,” said Tuvia
Singer, who is getting his doctorate in history.
Singer cited the
government’s lack of transparency as one of the biggest issues. “What happened
with Mofaz is a symptom of something deeper,” he added.
In Zion Square
the protesters encountered some opposition from a number of youths, who yelled
“Death to Arabs!” Other residents yelled at the protesters to go
“They’re piggybacking on the situation with the coalition and
trying to bring down the Right,” said Yisrael Levy, a teacher.