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Anti-corruption demonstration
Nahum Barnea
Liberman gleefully holds the key to Netanyahu coalition
Opinion: As tens of thousands protest in Tel Aviv over the PM's plan to legislate his way out of corruption charges, the Yisrael Beytenu leader is busy fighting for his own controversial bill
The first demonstration organized by the Blue and White Party - against Benjamin Netanyahu's bid to legislate his way out of corruption charges - had a more politically motivated and stimulated crowd than some of the speakers on stage at the Tel Aviv Museum plaza on Saturday night.

 

 

The public protest was the first for Blue and White leader and former military chief Benny Gantz, Labor's Gen. (res.) Tal Russo and others who probably felt far more at home at the IDF headquarters across the street, a place that was the center of their world for many years.

 

Opposition leader Benny Gantz at at anti corruption demonstration (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Opposition leader Benny Gantz at at anti corruption demonstration (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

The organizers were wrong to choose such a small venue, which quickly filled up with crowds spilling into the surrounding streets, mostly made up of older, Ashkenazi demonstrators.

 

Anti-corruption demonstration in Tel Aviv (Photo: EPA)
Anti-corruption demonstration in Tel Aviv (Photo: EPA)
 

 

Many of the demonstrators have taken to the streets before, calling Netanyahu 'crime minister' and chanting he must be jailed in protests organized by his former employee Meni Naftali and fringe politicians.

 

This time the crowd was led by major political parties united in their effort to foil any legislation to protect Netanyahu from prosecution - constituting a parliamentary, social and even judicial force to be reckoned with though their fight might take months.

 

Anti-corruption demonstration in Tel Aviv (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Anti-corruption demonstration in Tel Aviv (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
 

 

Unless of course, Netanyahu fails to form his new coalition by the May 28 deadline. If that scenario plays out, all these hard-right, questionable pieces of legislation will fall by the wayside.

 

The key, and not for the first time, is in Avigdor Liberman's hands. He is no political strategist; he is more of a poker player who is currently revelling in his win-win position tremendously.

 

Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman speaking about coalition stand-off
Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman speaking about coalition stand-off

 

If the Ultra-Orthodox parties agree to Liberman's terms to accept the controversial Haredi draft bill as proposed by the Defense Ministry, he will be credited with standing up to the religious parties, while Netanyahu will be seen as having given in to all of their demands.

 

  

Alternatively, if the ultra-Orthodox parties stand firm and new elections are called, Liberman will be running as the champion of secular Israelis. Perhaps he will team up with outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is popular among her electorate, and others on the right who wish to curb Orthodox legislation.

 


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.19, 15:48
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