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Police disperse protesters blocking Knesset entrance in demand for ‘elections now’

Police dispersed dozens of demonstrators, including relatives of Israelis held hostage in the Gaza Strip, on Monday, dragging them off the street after they blocked the entrance to the Knesset and demanded the resignation of the government.

Sitting across the width of the main access road to the parliament building, the demonstrators chanted “Elections now” and obstructed vehicular traffic before being carried off by the police.

According to the Haaretz daily, one protester was arrested.

  • “My brother was murdered because of one man who for eight years has been waging a private war against the entire country just so he can survive, evade justice and continue robbing our funds,” Roni Goren Ben-Zvi, one of the protesters, was quoted as saying.

Netanyahu is currently on trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, and many of his opponents accuse him of manipulating the political system in an attempt to stay in power.

  • “Fifteen hundred dead citizens prove it. There is no properly functioning country in the world whose prime minister would not resign the next day.”
  • In a statement, protest organizers said that “any hopes that the government would rise to the occasion of this time of emergency have been shattered by its failed actions, expressed by its dysfunction, the abandonment of the hostages, the fatal damage to Israel’s international reputation, its continued incitement and divisiveness and the diversion of funding in favor of personal interests at the expense of the public as a whole.”

  • “We came to the Knesset to demand elections now, the immediate replacement of the government, and the expulsion of the extremists,” they declared.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government have become increasingly unpopular since October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists invaded Israel by land, sea, and air, killing 1,200 people — a majority of them civilians — and taking 240 others hostage to Gaza.

Only 15% of Israelis want Netanyahu to stay in office after the war on Hamas in Gaza ends, according to the latest Israel Democracy Institute survey, a monthly gauge of Israeli sentiment on current events.

On Saturday night, thousands of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv and outside Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, calling for immediate new national elections amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

  • Organizers of the Tel Aviv protest said that about 20,000 people attended. Among those who participated were people who had been evacuated from the areas near the Gaza Strip and the northern border with Lebanon due to terrorist rocket fire from there, and relatives of people who were killed in the initial Hamas attack.

A new poll by national broadcaster Kan released on Sunday found that if elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party would win only 20 seats, far less than the 32 it garnered during the last general election.

Source: TOI