סימון שמירת מרחק של שני מטר במחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רבין
Protesters at Rabin Square stand at predetermined spots
Photo: Israel Police
Protesters at Rabin Square stand at predetermined spots

Thousands rally in Tel Aviv against political deadlock

Demonstrators at Rabin Square stand at marked spots in order to maintain 2-meter distance from one another; former Blue & White MK Lapid slams Gantz, while Ya'alon urges former IDF chief to cut talks with Netanyahu

Itay Blumenthal |
Published: 04.19.20 , 21:06
At least 2,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, protesting against the political deadlock that has affected the government's response to the coronavirus crisis.
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  • Wearing black shirts, holding black and Israeli flags as well as signs with anti-government slogans, the protesters stood in predetermined spots across the Rabin Square in order to maintain health directives meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    סימון שמירת מרחק של שני מטר במחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רביןסימון שמירת מרחק של שני מטר במחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רבין
    Protesters at Rabin Square stand at predetermined spots
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    Due to the large number of participants, Shlomo Ibn Gabirol Street adjacent to the square was closed off to traffic by the police.
    Among those who attended the rally were former Blue & White MKs Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya'alon - who urged Benny Gantz to end negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on forming a unity government.
    "Benny, you and I have been through hard times in order to get the country back on track," said Ya'alon. "I am convinced you have decided to enter a government with Netanyahu because of the emergency situation, but weeks have passed, and you are about to enter an over bloated and wasteful administration," added the Telem party head.
    "Netanyahu doesn't care about the virus, but only that he doesn't end up in court," he said referring to Netanyahu's upcoming criminal trial. "It's not too late for you to come back to us, together we will prevail."
    מחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רביןמחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רבין
    Telem head Moshe Ya'alon
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid slammed Netanyahu for what he said were attempts to destroy Israel's democracy.
    "This is how democracies die in the 21st century. They do not disappear when tanks roll up to parliament. They die from the inside because good people remained silent and weak people surrendered," he said.
    "Netanyahu has turned democracy into a word of the left-wing. From the day I founded Yesh Atid, I fought for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and integrity. Without these, we have nothing."
    מחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רביןמחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רבין
    Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    Lapid was less welcoming to his former party mate Gantz, saying the one who "betrayed Blue & White is going to sit [in a government] with a defendant accused of fraud and breach of trust.
    Also in attendance were Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh, Meretz MK Yair Golan and former Justice Minister Dan Meridor from the Likud party.
    מחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רביןמחאת הדלגים השחורים בכיכר רבין
    A sign showing Netanyahu as 'The Thinker': 'I lie, agitate, corrupt; therefore, I am'
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi )
    Protesters on accused Netanyahu of exploiting the crisis to evade his looming trial and cement his lengthy rule. Citing the pandemic, Netanyahu's hand-picked justice minister delayed the prime minister's trial just two days before it was to begin until late May.
    Since then, Netanyahu's coalition talks with Gantz have reportedly stalled due to demands by the prime minister to gain more control over judicial appointments and assurances that he can remain in office even if he gives up the prime minister's job in a proposed power-sharing arrangement with Gantz. Under Israeli law, public officials, with the exception of the prime minister, must resign if charged with a crime.
    Associated Press contributed to this report
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