Senior members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party have declined to attend a demonstration at Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Tuesday night to protest his indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The event, held under the banner "protesting the coup," is being portrayed as a right-wing protest over the conduct of the State Prosecutor's Office in the lead up to the indictment, and is expected to be a show of force for the prime minister.
Netanyahu also referred to the indictment as an "attempted coup" on Thursday night.
Netanyahu's bureau at the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv is behind the organization of the event and is mobilizing supporters and providing transportation and assistance to anyone wishing to attend.
The bureau also instructed the party's ministers and members of Knesset to appear at the event, but many have already said that they will be absent.
Other parties belonging to the prime minister's Knesset bloc, including the ultra-Orthodox parties and the far-right, also intend to avoid the demonstration.
In a televised speech immediately after the indictment was announced Thursday, the embattled leader claimed that the investigations against him were tainted by bias, saying the police investigators "weren't after the truth, they were after me."
On Friday, he posted a clip on Facebook in which he vowed to abide by any decision by the courts, but at the same time called on his supporters to attend the demonstration.
The prime minister is now also being challenged by his main political rival Gideon Sa'ar for the leadership of the Likud Party.
Sa'ar demanded a referendum be held within the next two weeks in order to find an alternative to Netanyahu as party leader and to facilitate agreement on a national unity government with the Blue and White Party and avoid a third election campaign within one year.
Blue and White have insisted they will not join a coalition with Netanyahu while he is under indictment.
First published: 10:56 , 11.26.19