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May 29, 2024

Thousands Take to Streets Across Israel Demanding Netanyahu’s Resignation and Early Elections

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Jan 21, 2024

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in major cities across Israel on Friday, calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation and new elections amid growing discontent over his government’s handling of the conflict in Gaza.

Police Reverse Decision to Ban Major Rally After Public Pressure

A large anti-war protest took place in Haifa on Friday after police reversed an earlier decision to restrict the rally to a remote location away from the city center. The police shift came after the High Court ruled on Thursday that the right to demonstrate was “a fundamental right in a democratic society.”

Initially, police sought to move the protest from downtown Haifa, but organizers refused and appealed to the High Court. After the court sided with protesters, police agreed to allow the rally at its original planned location.

Over 1,000 people attended the Haifa demonstration, one of the largest anti-war rallies held during more than 100 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Protesters Decry Government “Failures”, Demand Elections and Return of Captives

The Haifa protest brought together Jewish and Arab activists calling for an end to the Gaza war. Demonstrators accused the government of “genocide” against Palestinians and criticized what they called Netanyahu’s failed policies.

“The first step is to set a date for elections now,” said one protester at a rally in Jerusalem attended by over 2,000 people.

Many of the protests focused on the fate of two Israeli civilians held captive in Gaza. Protesters urged the government to act swiftly to return the hostages home.

“We are here to protest the lack of action to retrieve the boys,” said Sarah Marshak, who helped organize a rally in Tel Aviv. “The government needs to prioritize getting them back safely.”

Opposition Parties Back Demonstrations, Point to Government “Weakness”

Several opposition parties voiced support for the protesters and used the unrest to underline growing criticism of Netanyahu’s leadership.

“The fact that thousands are protesting shows the lack of trust between the people and the government,” said Yohanan Plesner, a lawmaker from the centrist Yesh Atid party.

Right-wing opposition leader Avi Maoz said the protests highlighted the Netanyahu government’s “weakness” and its failure to achieve clear victories over Hamas.

Protests Follow Deadly Gaza Raids and Prisoner Swap Controversy

The demonstrations capped a difficult week for Netanyahu after the Israeli military suffered its highest one-day death toll since the start of the war in a botched ground operation in Gaza City.

The raids triggered a barrage of intense rocket fire from Gaza toward major Israeli cities. The escalation renewed criticism from Israelis who argued that the Gaza campaign had become bogged down without achieving its aims.

Meanwhile, the government has faced blowback this week over a prisoner exchange in which Israel released over 200 Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for partial information about the missing Israelis in Gaza.

Many Expect Unrest to Grow Ahead of Netanyahu Trial

With Netanyahu’s corruption trial set to restart in February, analysts predict protest movements on both the right and left in Israel will continue gaining momentum in the coming weeks.

“The frustration with Netanyahu is crossing ideological lines at this point,” said Daniel Shapiro, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “The trial will be a focal point that could spark a new and even more intense phase of protests against him.”

Timeline of Key Events

Date Event
October 15, 2023 Fighting begins after failed negotiations over lifting Gaza blockade
November 12, 2023 Two Israelis captured by Hamas during border clash
December 1, 2023 Israel launches major ground offensive into Gaza City
January 14, 2024 Botched IDF raid leads to highest Israeli death toll of war
January 15, 2024 Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange for information on missing Israelis
January 18, 2024 Police try to restrict major Haifa protest before court overrules
January 20, 2024 Tens of thousands demonstrate in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa

This timeline summarizes some of the major events leading up to the recent protests against the Netanyahu government over its handling of the conflict.

What’s Next?

With unrest mounting, Netanyahu faces increasing pressure to achieve a decisive victory in Gaza or seek an exit from the lengthy war. Protest movements are likely to ramp up demonstrations in the coming weeks to demand a new government.

However, if ceasefire talks progress or the missing Israelis are returned, it could take some wind out of the protest sails. Netanyahu may also resort to extreme measures like declaring a state of emergency to curb dissent.

Either way, the corruption trial looms large over Netanyahu’s future. If he becomes mired in legal troubles in February, calls could intensify for his resignation even from within his own ruling coalition. The next few months promise more turbulence between Israel’s embattled leader andgrowing opposition movements nationwide.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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