Anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu are growing, and have already notched a win or two. And while the occupation couldn’t be further from the agenda, the movement could serve as a new rallying point for resistance to the authoritarian right.
The world’s attention may have been focused on Trump’s shift of policy on Jerusalem and the violence that broke out in its wake in recent days, but the tens of thousands of Israelis who shut down central Tel Aviv Saturday night were there to protest something entirely different.
For the second week in a row, masses of demonstrators — numbers rarely seen in the streets since the social justice protests of 2011 — marched through Tel Aviv and several other cities to protest what seems like an endless wave of corruption allegations against politicians in the country, and growing threats to democratic institutions and norms spearheaded by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cronies.
The protests have already left their mark.
In response to the previous week’s demonstration, the size of which surprised even its organizers, Netanyahu announced that legislation meant to protect him personally from the fallout of numerous corruption investigations would be altered so that he does not benefit from it personally.
The protests may have only arrived in Tel Aviv a week ago, but this is not a new movement; the outrage at corruption in Israel is far from new. For over a year now, several hundred people have been holding weekly demonstrations near the home of Israel’s attorney general in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva, demanding that he indict Netanyahu for the various corruption allegations for which police are investigating him.
There are two criminal investigations focused on Netanyahu himself, another centered on his wife, several concerning some of his closest allies and confidants. Criminal investigations are also underway against Netanyahu’s trusted stooge, coalition whip David Bitan, and against Finance Minister Aryeh Deri, who previously served nearly two years in prison for fraud and bribery.
The sense of corruption and criminality in politics extends far beyond the current government and its leader. Dozens of Israeli mayors are currently under criminal investigation for bribery...Read More