Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem by StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 6 min read

Members of Israeli security forces stand guard next to protesters during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, near the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on June 17, 2024
| Photo Credit: StuffsEarth

Anti-government protesters converged on Jerusalem on June 17, calling for new elections in an effort to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who once again sits atop one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israel’s history.

A wartime unity government fell apart a week ago when two centrist former generals, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, quit, leaving Netanyahu dependent on ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners. Their hardline agenda caused a major rift in Israeli society even before Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault sparked the war in Gaza.

The often weekly demonstrations have yet to change the political landscape, and Mr. Netanyahu still controls a stable majority in parliament.

Following the departures of Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot, opposition groups declared a week of street protests that include blocking highways and mass demonstrations.

By sundown, a crowd of thousands had gathered outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and planned to march to Netanyahu’s private home in the city.

Protesters attend a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, near the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on June 17, 2024.
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Protesters attend a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, near the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on June 17, 2024.
| Photo Credit:
StuffsEarth

Many waved Israeli flags. Others carried signs criticizing Mr. Netanyahu’s handling of pivotal issues, like promoting a divisive military draft bill that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from otherwise mandatory service, as well as his handling of the war with Hamas in Gaza and fighting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

“The healing process for the country of Israel, it starts here. After last week when Benny Gantz and Eisenkot left the coalition, we are continuing this process and hopefully this government will resign soon,” said protestor Oren Shvill.

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