Hundreds of Israelis on Wednesday once again protested in front of prime minister's home in Jerusalem by reading the prayer of Tisha B'Av, an annual fast day on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, including the distruction of the biblical temples.
Israelis have been demonstrating in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence for weeks, calling on the leader to resign over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing corruption trial.
The protest was organized by "Darkenu," Israel's largest non-partisan civil society movement. The group's CEO, Yair Fink, said the protest symbolizes how today's Israel is being destroyed just like the two temples.
"We came here tonight to make sure our beloved home is not destroyed again," he said. "Our previous home was destroyed because of corruption, extremism and violence and we, the moderate majority, must stand up, take to the streets and defend our home."
Among the demonstrators was the grandson of former Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, who served as Israeli leader from 1963 to 1969. "Netanyahu has forgotten what it's like to be an Israeli," said Nevo Eshkol.
Retired Brig. Gen. Amir Haskel, who has been the leader of the protest movement against Netanyahu, spoke at the rally, telling the crowd the rift in the Israeli society is "deep and difficult."
"The foundations of the third temple are being undermined," he said. "It is not a day for reckoning, it is a day for awakening, it is a day for self-observation, for soul-searching. It is up to us to change our reality. It will not be easy and quick, but it needs to start here and now."
A smaller but similar rally was held at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, where on Tuesday a group of anti-Netanyahu protesters had been violently attacked.
Shai Sekler, one of the demonstrators who was assaulted, said the police "abandoned us and disappeared" as the attack was happening.
"A group of ten people dressed in black, began attacking the protesters with knives, batons and glass bottles," he told Ynet. "I ran to help the wounded and then I was attacked myself with a sharp object. In the area near the Kaplan Street, I encountered undercover cops as I was bleeding, I asked for help but I was ignored."