Protesters plan to block entrances to the Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday in an effort to cause delays in the departure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States.
The PM and his family will be traveling to Washington in order to attend a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, marking normalization of relations with the UAE and Bahrain.
Anti-Netanyahu activists have been demonstrating outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem as well as his private home in Caesarea, for the past 12 weeks calling for his resignation because of corruption and slamming his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Netanyahu had planned to fly with his wife and two grown sons on a private jet because of their concerns that they may be infected by coronavirus if they were to share a plane with their entourage and the press corps. The estimated cost of the flight was at least $250,000.
Only after public condemnation did the prime minister back down and announce he would be traveling on board the national carrier, El Al flight already being payed for from the government budget. The jetliner would also be fitted with an anti-missile defense system.
The Prime Minister's Office explained the cancellation of the private jet saying they chose not to allow the media to distract from Netanyahu's achievements in securing normalized relations with Gulf nations.
The 12-hour flight to Andrews Air force Base outside Washington is scheduled to leave at 11 pm.
The prime minister has also come under criticism for leaving the country while the coronavirus pandemic is nearing a critical number of seriously ill patients threatening to bring hospitals to over capacity as daily infection rates continue to rise and exceed 4,000 new daily cases.
"Netanyahu is fleeing the country for four days of election campaigning instead of fixing the calamity he has caused, while the rest of the country is under threat of complete lock-down," the Black Flag movement said in a statement, "He plans to attend cocktail parties while his failures and his disconnect from the suffering of people is staggering. Israelis deserve proper leadership," demonstrators said.
First published: 17:14 , 09.13.20