Drop in turnout for 21st weekend of anti-government protests

Labor party head Merav Michaeli gave a speech at a protest near Karkur amid booing and heckling.

By World Israel News Staff

Tens of thousands of people protested in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities against the government’s judicial reform plans for the 21st Saturday, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the issue would return to the agenda following the passage of the state budget.

Some 80,000 people gathered at the main protest on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, a significant drop from previous weeks which saw as many as 200,000 people demonstrators.

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon addressed the protesters, saying the recently approved budget was one suited to “a dictatorship.”

“We are here to say in a loud and clear voice: Israel won’t be a dictatorship, only a democracy. We won’t forget your repeated lies and the venomous machine you built,” he said.

He also slammed opposition leader Yair Lapid and National Unity chairman Benny Gantz for their participation in ongoing negotiations with the government, “You are talking to [Netanyahu] and his people? About what, about a dictatorship, salami-style?”

Meanwhile, Gantz told protesters in Hod Hasharon that he, Lapid, and others involved in the negotiations had managed to “stop Israel’s gallop to disaster.”

“We will do everything in order to reach agreements while protecting our principles in order to preserve Israeli democracy,” he said.

Labor party head Merav Michaeli gave a speech at a 2,000-person protest near Karkur in northern Israel, amid booing and heckling. Protesters shouted “resign!” in apparent discontent over her decision-making in the beleaguered party.

“So there were some people in front of the stage who shouted abuse, it happens. I believe in my way,” Michaeli said in response.