Massive crowd expected for protest against legal establishment

At the meeting, Netanyahu said that he must remain prime minister due to security developments with Iran, Syria and Gaza on which he could not elaborate.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Israeli government's memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, November 10, 2019 (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Israeli government's memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, November 10, 2019
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and the state police will be under fire on Tuesday night at a rally supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Netanyahu has pleaded with the public to attend the rally in his public addresses, private meetings with mayors and on social media, ever since Mandelblit indicted him on Thursday night on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. But it was not clear by press time on Monday night whether Netanyahu would attend the event or address it via satellite.
“The rule of law must be equal, so what happened to me and to others should not happen,” Netanyahu said at a meeting with Likud mayors on Monday. “The citizens of Israel know that they should decide who will be prime minister. It is the essence of democracy that it is the majority that rules and it cannot be stopped elsewhere. Everything that is broken must be investigated.”
At the meeting, Netanyahu said that he must remain prime minister due to security developments with Iran, Syria and Gaza, about which he could not elaborate.
“We still have a mission of forming a unity government if possible,” Netanyahu said. “Contacts have not stopped; they are taking place. This is necessary for reasons I cannot explain. There are immediate challenges that are not small.”
But the only unity discussed on Monday was Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu joining forces to prevent Netanyahu from obtaining immunity from prosecution. The parties intend to force the formation of the Knesset House Committee, a body that tends to be formed only once a coalition is built. They will then take steps to ensure a majority against immunity for Netanyahu.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman urged Netanyahu not to seek immunity from prosecution at a meeting of his Knesset faction on Monday. He said that if Netanyahu took such a step, it would harm the public’s trust in the political system.
“I hope that in the end of the process, Netanyahu will be found innocent and as clean as snow, but that can only be done in the courts,” he said.
Liberman called on President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to invite party leaders to a meeting, and not let them leave the room until they reach an agreement that would prevent a third election in under a year. Liberman said that only Rivlin and Edelstein are statesmanlike figures whose pressure to form a new government by the December 11 deadline could be effective.
“They should sit with party leaders until white smoke comes out,” Liberman said, referring to the process of choosing a new pope in the Vatican.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called upon the Knesset in general and the Likud in particular to prevent Netanyahu from leading Israel to a third election, at a meeting of his faction in the Knesset on Monday.
“The first two elections were because of Netanyahu’s legal situation, and a third would be for the same reason,” Gantz told the faction. “There are 119 MKs who don’t want to go to elections but one MK is dragging us to unnecessary and expensive elections. I call upon Knesset members from all factions – let’s come to our senses. The time has come to lift the boycotts and bans, and to sit down and talk about forming a government in Israel.”
Gantz addressed the anticipated demonstration on Tuesday, stating: “Tomorrow there will be a demonstration in support of Netanyahu, and it appears that he will attend. I emphasize that in a democracy, the freedom of demonstration and the freedom of expression are fundamental principles, as is the right of each person to express his or her opinion. However, I call upon you – the demonstrators, those supporting Netanyahu and those against – to respect our law enforcement institutions, to have regard for our state and, of course, to avoid violence of any kind.”
Gantz’s No. 2, MK Yair Lapid, said that only Gantz should lead the government and that Blue and White would not aid another Likud MK building a coalition, singling out Likud leadership candidate Gideon Sa’ar.
“We’re doing everything to prevent another election and to form a government led by Benny Gantz, without tricks and without spin,” Lapid said. “We won’t offer our signatures to Gideon Sa’ar or anyone else to form a government. Only Blue and White will form the next government. Netanyahu says a prime minister can only be replaced at the ballot box. We did; we beat him. We’re the largest party in Israel. He’s just refusing to leave the Prime Minister’s Residence.”
Lapid said Netanyahu cannot continue to lead the country, adding pointed questions.
“Would you let your children be in a kindergarten if the teacher was a criminal suspect?” he asked. “Would you put your money in the bank where the manager is suspected of criminal activity?”
Regarding the demonstration, Lapid said: “Netanyahu is trying to drag us to civil war. He’s called on his people to go out to the streets for a violent revolt against the country. We won’t let that happen.”