Coalition faces rebellion as Knesset votes to limit protests

Three Blue and White ministers voted against the limitations but the proposal still passed easily.

Protester holds a sign that says "crime minister" outside of the Prime Minister's Residence during a demonstration on July 25, 2020 (photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
Protester holds a sign that says "crime minister" outside of the Prime Minister's Residence during a demonstration on July 25, 2020
(photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet voted late Wednesday night to limit political protests against Netanyahu.

Three Blue and White ministers voted against the limitations but the proposal still passed easily.
The changes limit the protests during the lockdown to people who live within a kilometer of Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem. Even after they take effect, they will only last a week, and the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee will be able to overturn them.
  
Earlier in the Knesset, Blue and White MKs Miki Haimovich and Ram Shefa rebelled against the coalition and voted together with the opposition against the changes. Haimovich said she had to follow her conscience.
 
Opposition leader Yair Lapid praised Haimovich, saying she had more courage than two IDF chiefs of staff, referring to party leaders Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi.
 
The Blue and White MKs came under tremendous pressure ahead of the vote. Black Flag said its activists sent 4,716 text messages to Blue and White MKs, one of whom said she received 681 emails.
 
Yesh Atid MK Gadeer Mreeh faced criticism from coalition chairman Miki Zohar, who was serving as acting Knesset speaker, for her speech about the need to set an example for children by stopping Netanyahu’s alleged corruption. 
 
“That was one of the most repulsive and disgusting speeches I have heard,” said Zohar. Mreeh responded that his reaction disgraced the Knesset speaker’s rostrum and that he should be ashamed. 
 
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin spoke to Zohar about his behavior on Wednesday and told him he had crossed redlines. Yesh Atid MK Orna Barbivai called on Levin to fire Zohar from his post as deputy Knesset speaker.
Protests against Netanyahu continued on Wednesday night, even though the Knesset plenum voted 46 to 38 at 4:30 a.m. early Wednesday to limit demonstrations due to the coronavirus lockdown. 
 
The Crime Minister protest group held a symbolic demonstration outside Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday night. The Black Flag movement announced that they will demonstrate in one thousand locations across the country on Thursday and Saturday nights.