Hundreds of people waving Israeli and black flags protested on Monday in front of the Knesset building in Jerusalem. The protesters called for parliament to resume its activities and for the Knesset speaker to resign.
Edelstein, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, last week suspended parliamentary activities, preventing the newly elected legislature from choosing a new speaker and forming committees critical to the country's fight against coronavirus.
The demonstrators held up banners, saying “Edelstein let go,” chanted “Yuli, Yuli resign, we don’t want you anymore,” and compared the government officials to criminals.
The protest, under the banner “Loss of Democracy” began at the Baka-Jatt interchange in northern Israel, where hundreds of vehicles began driving toward the capital all equipped with black and Israeli flags and that read “Democracy or Fascism”.
Among the anti-government protesters was Hagai Meirom, a former Israeli politician who represented the Labor Party in the Knesset in the 1990s. “We are out here today to save the Knesset,” he said.
“There is an attempt by the Likud party to shut down the Knesset and not to allow it to elect members of The Arrangements Committee.”
The Arrangements Committee is one of the most important Knesset committees.
According to the Knesset website, the committee proposes the Parliamentary Group make-up of the permanent committees, makes recommendations as to who should chair the committees, lays down the sitting arrangements of the Groups in the plenum and the distribution of rooms in the Knesset building to the Groups and Knesset members.
At some point the protest was interrupted by an anti-Benny Gantz campaigner. The protesters called on the protester to “be ashamed” and take off his kippah because he is “not a real Jew.”
In the meantime, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to respond whether he is ready to conduct a parliament vote on the need for his replacement.
The court’s ruling comes after a hearing on Sunday that was held following a petition from civil rights groups demanding the Knesset resume its full activities even amid restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.