Cabinet approves extending limit on demos as protests surge

A source in Blue and White said that if coronavirus numbers go down in the upcoming week, the party’s ministers may oppose renewing the limitations next week.

Anti-Netanyahu protester in Tel Aviv confronts Israel Police (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Anti-Netanyahu protester in Tel Aviv confronts Israel Police
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government held a telephone survey on Tuesday night and voted in favor of extending controversial limitations on political demonstrations, forbidding protests outside his Jerusalem residence on Balfour Street this weekend.
The limitations passed last week, with only three ministers from Blue and White opposing them. But since then, MK Asaf Zamir quit his post as tourism minister. 

A cabinet vote is required to renew the limitations every week. A source in Blue and White said that if coronavirus numbers go down in the upcoming week, the party’s ministers may oppose renewing the limitations next week.

The Black Flag protest movement reported that small demonstrations of people who live within a kilometer were held in more than a thousand sites across the country on Tuesday.

“Tonight, the entire country became Balfour Street,” the Crime Minister movement said. “The people of Israel came out to street corners to deliver a message to the indicted prime minister that it is time for him to go.”

Meanwhile, a poll broadcast on Channel 12 found that 65% of the public believe Netanyahu is handling the coronavirus crisis poorly, 31% say he is handling it well and the rest did not express an opinion.

The dramatic poll found that if elections were held now, Netanyahu’s Likud would win 26 seats and Yamina led by MK Naftali Bennett 23, the smallest gap of any poll. In May, Likud was predicted by the same pollster to win 41 seats and Yamina only seven.

The Likud responded by tweeting a poll from 2014 predicting 20 seats for Likud and 19 for Bennett’s party at the time, Habayit Hayehudi.

“Everyone knows how it ends,” the Likud tweeted. “We are used to the left-wing media playing up Bennett to try to bring down Netanyahu and the Likud. It won’t work this time either.”

If Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai formed a party, it would win six seats.

The strengthening of Bennett at Netanyahu’s expense is expected to decrease the likelihood that Netanyahu will initiate an early election in December, when a state budget must be passed.

Asked if they want elections, 49% of respondents said yes, 30% said no and 21% did not know.

The new poll predicted that Yesh Atid would win 18 seats, the Joint List 15, Blue and White and Shas nine each, Yisrael Beytenu eight, United Torah Judaism seven and Meretz five.

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman responded to the poll by saying she was worried by Bennett’s rise.

“When we say Netanyahu has to go, we don’t mean that he should be replaced by Netanyahu on steroids,” she said. “This is what happens when the alternative on the Left is not really an alternative. This is what happens when you surrender to the Right.”