Senior members of Likud voiced outrage Sunday after a request was made for the party’s ministers and MKs to participate in a demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment to be held Tuesday.
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The request originating from the office of the party chairman, asked members including those in senior positions, to join the event protesting the state prosecution's decision to indict Netanyahu on charges of corruption.
Speeches during the demonstration are likely to include similar statements to those made by Netanyahu after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision to charge the prime minister in three separate cases.
Netanyahu on Thursday called the criminal indictment against him an attempt at a "government coup" and "using false allegations," and said he will continue to "lead Israel."
Some in Likud said they are uncomfortable participating in such an event and have advised the chairman's office that they will not attend.
"What is the demonstration about really?" asked one senior member of the party. “We are asked to participate in a demonstration that will promote a messaging we are not comfortable with.” He added that the talk of a coup was not in line with some members' opinions.
He also expressed concern that after refusing to attend he may be branded a traitor, "and that is just off," the senior member said.
Another high-level party source wondered why he was asked to be “an extra” in this protest, clarifying that he has criticism of the state prosecution but accusing the attorney general of using false allegations and stained investigations or staging a coup was going too far.
Demonstrations in support of Netanyahu were held Saturday near the northern city of Haifa and in Jerusalem, but they were spontaneous gatherings and small in size.
Tuesday's event which is organized by aides to the prime minister, as well as his supporters, is expected to attract a large crowd. Netanyahu himself mentioned it in a message posted on his social media accounts on Friday.
On Sunday the newly indicted leader met with party officials and decided to hold primary elections for party leader in six weeks, too late for a new leader to be voted in before new elections could be called in less than three weeks.
Netanyahu's main rival Gideon Sa'ar said he wishes to make a bid for the top position. So far he is the only challenger.
The charges include bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
First published: 22:29, 11.24.19