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Tens of Thousands of Protestors Call for Resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

'The government doesn’t have the public’s faith' demonstrator says

Tens of Thousands of Protestors Call for Resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Tens of thousands of protestors jammed the streets outside the Knesset in Jerusalem yesterday evening as part of a four-day protest calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to resign.

Demonstrators are also demanding Israel hold early elections and for the country’s leadership to ink a deal that will secure the release of the 130 hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack.

The protest was the largest since Oct. 7, which interrupted the continued demonstrations against the government and its bid to overhaul the judiciary, reported the Times of Israel. Organizers said more than 100,000 people took part in the rally, though media outlets say turnout was in the tens of thousands.

Many of the demonstrators say they can’t believe that Netanyahu is still in power and that the country has not yet held elections six months after the worst attack on the country in its history.

“It is beyond belief that this country, which was so successful … is being led down [this] path by one man and his henchmen,” an attendee told the Times.

“We need elections,” another protestor told the outlet. “The government doesn’t have the public’s faith. And [now] they want to pass a law allowing one in five people to avoid army service,” he added, referring to potential legislation of IDF service exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox community.

Netanyahu is not only in a fight with Hamas: he is also fighting for his legacy, given “the thing he always feared most has happened — he fell asleep on the job and failed to maintain Israel’s security. It’s his nightmare come true,” said Mazal Mualem, who recently wrote a biography of the embattled prime minister, recently told The New York Times.

For years, Netanyahu has funded and supported Hamas to divide Palestinians to prevent anyone in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) West Bank government from being able to establish a Palestinian state.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s former defense minister, said with Hamas in power, Israel could easily explain they have no real negotiating partner for peace: “If the PA strengthens … then there will be someone to talk to.” The idea of a Palestinian state is a proposal that has always been rejected by Netanyahu.

In addition to presiding over the worst attack in his nation’s history, Netanyahu still faces trial for multiple sets of corruption charges — another factor that led to calls for his resignation.

The charges against him include fraud, breach of trust, and bribery.

Fraud and breach of trust carry prison sentences of up to three years, while a conviction on a bribery charge could land him in prison for a decade.

The Oct. 7 attack granted Netanyahu a brief respite from the proceedings, which began in 2020. However, in December, the trial resumed, worsening his standing with the Israeli public.

Some demonstrators say that Netanyahu is making decisions focused on his political survival, rather than the national interest.

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