Protest in Tel Aviv/photo credit Moti Kimchi, Ynet news
After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to help the nation’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic crisis failed, some 80,000 protesters attended a rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday evening.
The “apolitical,” protestors voice their anger at the failed Netanyahu policies. “We waited for four months and haven’t seen a dime!”, said Ronen Mili of the Association of Restaurant and Bar Owners. “No more games!”.
One protester held an image of Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and son Yair as homeless people, mocking Netanyahu, who asked earlier this month Knesset and received, a NIS 1 million tax break courtesy of the taxpayer. During the debating the decision, Likud MK Miki Zohar argued that “it is not an option to have the prime minister be financially disabled,” a comment that provoked rage. Netanyahu’s personal wealth is valued in NIS 50 million.
In an interview with Channel 12 show “Ophira and Berkovich”, last week, Likud Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi said “complaining of hunger is ‘populist bulls**t'” while the unemployment rate was reported to stand at 21% with roughly one million out of work.
“Those in power “are there and they don’t care about us.” said protestors, “they don’t care about the people. They enjoy people being scared because it simply gives them power.”
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz presented on Thursday night a NIS 80 billion package to extend unemployment aid until June 2021, or as long as the unemployment rate the country is facing is above 10%. The plan was in an effort to stop the planned rally, but the protestors said: “We want to see the money first.”
The rally, which started with no violence was escalating. Hundreds of protesters blocked streets in Tel Aviv shouting “this is a war!” with severe clashes between police and protesters. 19 suspects were arrested for disorderly conduct and 3 policemen were lightly injured.
Photos and videos documenting what appears to be civilians blaming police officers on the scene. One of the protesters was photographed shouting at a border policeman: “You are supposed to be our brother, you are ours.” Another protester was documented calling the police “you are zero, nothing.” We want a liberal state – they know the truth. ”
Videos circulated on social media show citizens smashing bank windows near Rabin Square and lighting trash cans. The demonstration ended around 3 am.
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