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Thousands of business owners hold protest in Tel Aviv

Thousands of people protested Saturday night at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

Attendance at the protest against the government’s economic policies during the COVID-19 pandemic swells to some 10,000 people, according to Hebrew media estimates.

The protest was organized by business owners who suffered losses due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The protesters, who are unhappy with the government’s treatment of business owners in light of coronavirus directives, told politicians they were “not welcomed” at the event.

“We call on the politicians to avoid coming to the Square this evening,” the organizers said.

“They had enough time to work for us. The protest beginning this evening is not that of politicians – not from the right and not from the left – it is a protest of the people.”

Actor Guy Loel, who began selling vegetables after the theaters were closed due to coronavirus, said,

“Until the money is in my account, I won’t believe anyone. We’re not afraid of coronavirus, we’re afraid that [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and our disconnected government will kill us. People are dying of hunger, wake up already!”

Israel Police said: “We are aware of the protesters’ desire to make their cries and pain heard, and therefore, out of a desire to allow the right of protest, Israel Police are calling on those attending the protest to strictly adhere to the conditions, as they were agreed on, with an emphasis on maintaining a distance and wearing masks. Remember that these are guidelines for the public’s health, and they are of life-and-death importance.”

Finance Minister Israel Katz is asked about this evening’s protest in Tel Aviv during an interview with Channel 13 news.

“The demonstrators don’t have a reason to protest, we haven’t lost control over what’s happening in the economy,” he says.

Concerning complaints that promised government aid has been slow to arrive, Katz says, “the money will reach the bank on Tuesday and you’ll see this in your account on Wednesday.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz voices support for Israelis protesting against the government’s economic policies during the pandemic at a demonstration in Tel Aviv, and appears to call for the passage of a budget that runs through 2021 — which has become a point of contention with coalition partner Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“The citizens who have gone out to the streets are expressing real and justified distress and they have the full right to do this, and we as a government have the responsibility to listen and to work to find solutions,” Gantz writes on his Facebook page.

“The coronavirus has brought us one of the greatest health, social and economic crises in the history of the state. Together, we can overcome it by safeguarding life and livelihood,” he adds.

Gantz says he told Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz that along with the financial aid package it announced Thursday, Blue and White will insist that a “much broader budgetary policy is soon presented that will encourage growth growing forward” and goes beyond the next three months.

Sources: Israel Media Agencies