“It is not surprising that all this happens when the Likud is at the peak of support in every survey,” Netanyahu’s Likud party said in a statement.
By World Israel News Staff
Approximately one-thousand Israelis protested Saturday evening against Benjamin Netanyahu outside his Jerusalem residence as the Israeli prime minister faces corruption charges.
The demonstration was fueled by the detention of seven protesters Friday who held a smaller rally against Netanyahu’s continuation as prime minister. Demonstrators held banners describing Netanyahu as “crime minister.”
Other signs at the Saturday demonstration included “We’re all Amir Haskel,” referring to a former senior air force general who is among the seven detainees.
“The corrupt one wasn’t asked to form a government,” “[Public Security Minister Amir] Ohana is corrupt,” and “Amir Haskel is a hero of Israel” were among the chants repeated throughout the evening.
Haskel, along with two others, was arrested Friday night in a “black flag’ anti-corruption protest. They remain in detention for refusing the police’s release terms and insisting on participating in Saturday’s protest.
Police said the protest a day earlier was “illegal” because demonstrators had blocked the roads.
Last month, Netanyahu’s trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes opened in a Jerusalem court. It is scheduled to resume next month.
Netanyahu’s new government took office last month, ending more than a year of political stalemate.
Under a power-sharing deal, Netanyahu was permitted to remain as prime minister, while his rival, Benny Gantz, was named defense minister and alternate prime minister.
The two men have agreed to switch posts after 18 months, though many analysts do not expect the government to last that long.
Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, also from the Blue and White party, called for Haskel’s release.
“The right to protest is a holy right in the State of Israel, and it is totally forbidden to harm it apart from in extreme situations. Therefore, from the information I have, I think that the three protestors who were arrested should be released without any limitations,” Gantz stated.
Haskel “earned the right and the duty to speak his mind, to protest and to demonstrate,” Ashkenazi said.
Following widespread media coverage and condemnation from numerous opposition politicians, the Likud accused the press of hypocrisy for not opposing the arrests of Sheffi Paz and other “right-wing activists.”
“The media hasn’t said anything about the shocking arrest of the right-wing activist Sheffi Paz, or the arrest of many other right wing activists in the right-wing protests,” Netanyahu’s Likud party said in a statement, accusing the media of hypocrisy.
Earlier this month, Paz, an activist from southern Tel Aviv who leads a movement calling for the removal of illegal immigrants, posted stickers on the mailbox of Supreme Court Justice Uzi Fogelman, saying “Jewish blood is cheap: the Supreme Court.”
“Suddenly, when a left-wing activist is arrested when he violates the law and blocks a road in a left-wing demonstration organized by [former Labor Prime Minister] Ehud Barak, his friend and partner of the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the media turns it into a media festival to encourage the protests against the Likud led by Netanyahu.
“It is not surprising that all this happens when the Likud is at the peak of support in every survey,” the statement concluded.
AP contributed to this report.