Anti-Netanyahu protest in Tel Aviv blasts unity negotiations

Demonstrators expressed their opposition to a unity government, insisting that Netanyahu’s ouster is the only option.

By Associated Press

Around 2,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday, demonstrating against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to form a unity government with his chief rival, Benny Gantz.

Amid ongoing social distancing restrictions, demonstrators wore face masks as speakers criticized Netanyahu’s possible partnership with Gantz. Some waved black flags, while others held signs accusing Netanyahu of using the corona crisis to distract from the corruption charges he faces.

While Gantz vowed during three bitter election campaigns over the past year that he would never sit in a government with Netanyahu while he faced legal charges, he announced last month that he had accepted the prime minister’s suggestion to form an “emergency” government to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The announcement infuriated many of Gantz’s supporters and caused his Blue and White party to fracture.

“You don’t fight corruption from within. If you’re inside, you’re part of it,” said Yair Lapid, Gantz’s spurned political partner.

Netanyahu has dismissed the corruption charges he faces as the machinations of a hostile media and aggressive police and prosecutors.

Protesters on Sunday accused Netanyahu of using the crisis to avoid trial.

Under Israeli law, public officials, with the exception of the prime minister, must resign if charged with a crime.