Massive Protests in Tel Aviv Demand New Elections

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.22 - 2024 10:24 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Many protesters carried signs reading "Minister of Crime" and "Stop the War!"

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Growing Discontent with Netanyahu's Government

Tens of thousands of protestors waving Israeli flags and chanting anti-government slogans gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday, demanding new elections and the return of hostages held in Gaza.

The protests, reported by Hotnews reflect widespread dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the nearly nine-month-long conflict in the Palestinian enclave.

The war, which began after a Hamas assault on southern Israel on October 7 of last year, has fueled weekly demonstrations in Israel's largest city. Many protesters carried signs reading "Minister of Crime" and "Stop the War!" as they marched down the main road.

Public Outcry for Change

Shai Erel, a 66-year-old entrepreneur, expressed his concerns, stating,

"I am here because I fear for the future of my grandson. There will be no future for them if we do not come out and get rid of this horrible government."

Erel's sentiment echoed that of many demonstrators who criticized the current government coalition, which includes right-wing ministers such as Itamar Ben Gvir and other far-right ultranationalists.

The anti-government group Hofshi Israel estimated over 150,000 attendees, marking the largest protest since the Gaza war began. Some protesters lay on the ground covered in red paint in Tel Aviv's Democracy Square, symbolizing what they call the "death of democracy" under Netanyahu's leadership.

Calls for Immediate Elections

Former Shin Bet security agency chief Yuval Diskin addressed the crowd, condemning Netanyahu as "the worst prime minister in Israel's history."

Frustration with the right-wing coalition's policies, which many blame for prolonging the Gaza conflict and endangering national security and hostage lives, was palpable.

Yoram, a 50-year-old tour guide, highlighted the urgency of the situation, saying, "I attend every weekly protest because Israel needed elections yesterday due to Netanyahu."

He added, "I really hope the government collapses. If we reach the scheduled election date in 2026, they won't be democratic elections."