Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former ministers and Knesset members on the Right will call for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to allegations of bribery and breach of trust at a right-wing anti-corruption rally that will be held Saturday night in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, the first from the right side of the political map following a year of weekly protests associated with the Left.
The protest is being organized by journalist Yoaz Hendel, Netanyahu’s former director of communications and public diplomacy and the chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategies. He is also the co-author of Israel vs Iran: The Shadow War along with Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz.
Hendel wrote about the rally in his column on the cover of Yediot Aharonot
Monday, writing that the rally would not be against anyone but in favor of the rule of law, checks and balances in government and the fight against corruption.
Hendel wrote that he and other right-wingers did not feel they fit at the rallies held in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv but needed an outlet to protest against corruption.
“I feel there are many people in the nationalist camp who don’t feel comfortable with what they see in the Likud,” Hendel told the Post.
“It’s important for them to make a statement, and they won’t do it at a demonstration where there are flags for Peace Now.”
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon is expected to address the event and has called on the public to attend.
Hendel has been rumored to be a possible Knesset candidate for a party being formed by Ya’alon.
Former minister Limor Livnat and former National Union MK Arye Eldad are also set to speak at the rally. Likud MKs Yehudah Glick and Oren Hazan and Kulanu MKs Roy Folkman and Rachel Azaria have confirmed their attendance, though they are all under pressure from Netanyahu’s associates not to attend.
Kulanu officials have reportedly provided assistance to the rally. Hendel has turned to prominent rabbis about speaking at the event after religious-Zionist Rabbi Yuval Cherlow spoke at an antic-orruption rally in Tel Aviv last Saturday night.
Hendel said Netanyahu’s attacks on police in a speech to Likud activists Tuesday night and a new plan to revolutionize the legal system sponsored by Bayit Yehudi ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked have given support to his protest. He said he heard Netanyahu’s associates were taking the event very seriously.
“I am not using this rally to get to the Knesset,” Hendel said. “I have had offers from parties to run for the last three Knessets, and I don’t know if I am running next time. It’s not my greatest dream to be in the Knesset.”
Reacting to criticism from former National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari that he was no more right-wing than Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, Hendel said: “I don’t need anyone’s approval for what I am.”
Another possible speaker at the rally Saturday night is publicist and author Nadav Haetzni, who wrote a column in Maariv
three weeks ago in which he said Netanyahu had to leave office and make way for a cleaner politician in the Likud.
“We are seeing the start of a pattern, and I hope the pattern strengthens and leads to pressure in the Likud for Netanyahu to quit and to be replaced by a new leader from the Likud,” Haetzni told the Post
this week. “There is no need for elections. The Likud can choose a new leader who has clean hands.”
Meanwhile, an anti-corruption protest will be held in Tel Aviv for the fourth week in a row.
Organizer Meni Naftali is not expected to attend after fainting on Tuesday. Sources close to him said he would likely miss the weekly anti-corruption rally for the first time in a year because he needs to remain in bed.