Tens of thousands of citizens of Israel protested across the country on Saturday, October 31, in the latest weekly demonstrations against far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, because of the corruption charges for which he is being tried and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The weekly demonstrations have been ongoing for more than four months. This week the demonstrators also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing activist.
Organizers said some 8,000 people took part in the main rally near Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Saturday evening, while thousands of protesters marched from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square northward on Ibn Gabirol Street, and another 2,000 set out from the city’s Habima Square. Smaller demonstrations took place at more than 1,200 intersections, roads and overpasses elsewhere across the country. Protesters held signs that read, “Saving the country, fighting corruption” and “Revolution.” They also resumed their weekly calls for Netanyahu to resign. In addition, members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel set up new protest points in Nazareth, Taybe, Sakhnin, Deir Hanna, Shefamr, Umm al-Fahem, Kafr Yasif and other Arab towns.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, thousands marched from Zion Square in Jerusalem to the main demonstration location for protests held against Netanyahu on Balfour Street. Famed actress Orna Banai spoke with tears in her eyes during the march. “Rabin, what a loss. How they murdered you and gained from it. Twenty-five years later and the same man still stands on the front balcony and has never left. Incitement and division are the enterprise of his life,” Banai said, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu. “On the anniversary of Rabin’s death, Bibi chose to talk about only himself and make up murder threats against himself and his family in order to shed the blood of protesters,” she said referring to Netanyahu’s remarks last week when claimed his life is being threatened daily, but the threats are not being taken seriously.
On Saturday, the violence against anti-Netanyahu demonstrators continued. In Ramat Gan, an assailant pepper-sprayed protesters from within his vehicle in one location, injuring one man, while at another site eggs and cans of food were thrown at protesters, according to a police report. In Jerusalem, an elderly woman protester was hospitalized after she was attacked in Zion Square. Protesters say one of them was injured when a plainclothes cop kicked him in the head near the demonstration. In the central city of Hod Hasharon, protesters said they were attacked by two men who got out of a vehicle; at least one of those assailed requiring medical treatment. A demonstrator told the Kan public broadcasting that a passing car pulled over next to the protesters. Two men got out of the vehicle and then began shoving protesters.
Earlier on Saturday evening, two protestors were arrested for not obeying police orders. The incident occurred after police stopped a procession of demonstrators marching down Route 1 towards the entrance to Jerusalem, holding flags and a large submarine prop. The protestors were stopped by police near the Ein Hemed interchange for allegedly not coordinating their march with police in advance, a “violation of the law,” the police reported.
In response to the arrest of the “submarine convoy,” the Crime Minister organization – one of the main groups in organizing the anti-Netanyahu protests – condemned police for purposely inhibiting the protest movement. “In the Jerusalem district, no single opportunity is missed to abuse the protestors and sabotage the protests,” the group said in a statement criticizing police involvement in the protests.