Protesters raging against PM Netanyahu block Israel’s parliament

Arrests as protests rage against Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

July 22, 2020 / 5:42 AM
/ AP

Jerusalem — After a night of intense protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, dozens of Israeli demonstrators chained themselves together and briefly blocked the entrance to parliament on Wednesday morning. An economic aid plan announced by Netanyahu last week, which would see hundreds of dollars handed out to every Israeli household, was widely condemned by economists and has hit a snag in parliament. In the past week, thousands of Israelis have participated in some of the largest demonstrations in nearly a decade against the long-time prime minister, as public discontent bubbled over. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty

Protests outside Netanyahu’s residence have become a weekly occurrence, with police increasingly taking harsher measures against demonstrators. First published on July 22, 2020 / 5:42 AM AMIR LEVY/Getty

Netanyahu is on trial for a series of cases in which he allegedly received lavish gifts from billionaire friends and traded regulatory favors with media moguls for more favorable coverage of himself and his family. The government has also been accused of issuing contradictory guidelines that have only further stoked the anger of everyday citizens. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty

Toward the end, a young women climbed atop a mounted candelabra, the national symbol, and stripped off her shirt in protest. Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet in recent weeks as his corruption trial has gotten underway, and as his bloated, “emergency” coalition government — formed specifically to handle the crisis — has fumbled managing the pandemic. Police said they arrested 34 people who were involved in the disturbances, deploying a heavy hand in the arrests. On Tuesday night, a large coalition of protest groups combined to march through the streets of Jerusalem from Netanyahu’s official residence to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Protesters are hit by water cannon used by Israeli police during clashes at a demonstration against the Israeli prime minister outside his official residence in Jerusalem, early on July 22, 2020. They beat drums, banged on pots and blared on trumpets while calling for the prime minister’s resignation and holding banners reading, “the Israeli spring is here.”

Israelis protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, as one demonstrator climbs atop a mounted menorah, the national symbol, and removes her top in protest, July 21, 2020. Police arrested four and broke up the gathering, which was called to protest an upcoming vote to grant the government sweeping authority to bypass parliament in enacting measures to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus. But it came amid a fresh outpouring of discontent with Netanyahu. But since reopening the economy in May, new cases have spiked and unemployment remains over 20%, up from 3.9% before the pandemic. Netanyahu has come under growing criticism for holding office while on trial for corruption, pushing for seemingly anti-democratic measures under the guise of combating the virus and mismanaging the country’s deepening economic crisis. Last month, they arrested a retired Israeli air force general, setting off an uproar. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox

The protests have since drawn a younger crowd and have grown more defiant. orders China to close its consulate in Houston

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The gathering also drew restaurant owners and celebrity chefs, frustrated by the government’s inconsistent reopening policies for businesses. The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing — accusing the media and law enforcement of a witch hunt to oust him from office — and has refused to step down.Israel received praise for its early handling of the coronavirus crisis and imposing tight movement restrictions. Trending News

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Critics of the Netanyahu government’s response to the economic crisis say it has provided too little assistance to Israelis and has offered no safety net for hundreds of thousands of self-employed workers and business owners. Police officers clash with protesters during a demonstration on July 21, 2020 in Jerusalem, Israel. The chefs handed out meals while out-of-work self-employed Israelis joined ranks with the anti-Netanyahu protest movement.