Large Tel Aviv protest calls on Netanyahu to stand down

"There is not one public figure who would have remained in his post with the recommendations of two bribery cases."

February 16, 2018 14:15
1 minute read.

Protestors gather in Tel Aviv to demand Netanyahu step down, February 16, 2018 (Reuters)

Protestors gather in Tel Aviv to demand Netanyahu step down, February 16, 2018 (Reuters)


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Some 1,000 people congregated in central Tel Aviv on Friday to demand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resign, days after the police recommended he be indicted for bribery and breach of trust.

Meeting in Habimah Square, demonstrators hoisted signs calling for the “corrupt to go home,” “let’s sweep away the corrupt,” and “not Right, not Left – straight.”

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Former Police commissioner Assaf Hefetz headlined the protest, where he called upon Netanyahu to step down immediately.

“There is not one public figure who would have remained in his post with the recommendations of two bribery cases. Bibi must resign,” Hefetz said. The ex-police chief is a former Netanyahu supporter, who previously ran for the Likud party primaries.

Hefetz also called for the support of current Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheikh, who has been criticized by Netanyahu for his handling of the investigations.

It is now in the hands of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, a former Netanyahu ally, to decide whether to indict the prime minister.

Protesters hold signs calling upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel February 16, 2018. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The weekly anti-corruption protests, which are usually held on Saturday night, were held on Friday given the stormy weather forecast for Saturday.

For most of 2017, the protests were held outside Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva. In December, they moved to Tel Aviv, and have drawn thousands in the past few weeks.

Another speaker at Friday’s protest, former judge Oded Eligon, said he felt like he was waking from a dream and seeing the nightmare of “our royal couple.” He blasted the conduct of the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, who has also been under police investigation for misuse of public funds.

On Saturday night, a march, which police limited to 150 people, took place near the home of Mandelblit. Participants urged the attorney-general to expedite his decision on the prime minister, adding that they hoped he would be indicted on the corruption charges against him.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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