Tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in Tel Aviv to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, calling on him to step down ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
According to media reports, over 40,000 protesters gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, slamming Netanyahu’s warmongering policies and calling for change.
The protesters held banners reading “Israel wants a change” and chanted the slogan “Bibi, you’ve failed, go home,” referring to the premier’s nickname.
“We have a leader who fights only one campaign — the campaign for his own political survival,” said Meir Dagan (shown below), the former head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, who addressed the demonstrators as the keynote speaker.
“For six years, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu has been serving as prime minister. Now it has been six years in which Israel has never been more stuck,” he stated, adding, “In six years he has not lead one real move to change the region and to create a better future.”
The widow of an Israeli soldier killed in the regime’s brutal offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip last summer also took to the podium and severely criticized the premier’s approach toward the Palestinian issue.
“Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, what’s important is life itself, but it’s impossible to speak all the time about Iran and to turn a blind eye to the bloody conflict with the Palestinians which costs us so much blood,” Michal Kastan Keidar said.
One of the organizers of the rally said the Israeli settlers are fed up with Netanyahu’s warmongering and now demand “a change of politics, a peace agreement.”
The regime in Tel Aviv “has failed on the social and economic fronts and has not improved the security situation,” Dror Ben Ami told AFP news agency.
In a reaction to the massive rally, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party said the demo was no more than an electoral campaign organized by Likud’s rival parties ahead of the regime’s parliamentary votes on March 17.
“The rally in Tel Aviv is part of a campaign orchestrated by the left [and] funded by millions of dollars from abroad,” said Likud in a statement, adding that the protest has been organized in an attempt to replace the right-wing cabinet headed by Netanyahu with a leftist one.
The demonstration was held days after Netanyahu’s anti-Iran rant at the US Congress, accusing the United States of negotiating “a very bad deal” with Tehran over its nuclear program.
“We’ve been told for over a year that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal. We’re better off without it,” he told US congressmen.
Netanyahu is currently under domestic and international pressure over his controversial stance towards the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany — over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The Israeli premier’s critics say his attempts to disrupt the positive process of Iran’s nuclear talks will only result in the regime’s growing isolation in the international community.
Netanyahu’s Congress speech garnered harsh criticism in the US and abroad with many Americans taking to the streets to castigate the Israeli leader’s attempts to bully Israel’s long-term ally, the US, into disregarding Iran’s inalienable nuclear rights.