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Tens of thousands in Tel Aviv demand Netanyahu's ouster

Ten days before Israelis head to the polls, masses turn out in anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv. Latest polls put Zionist Camp ahead of Likud but it’s still unclear who can form a coalition.

Tens of thousands of people at a demonstration calling to replace Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Tens of thousands of people at a demonstration calling to replace Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Tens of thousands of Israelis attended a rally to demand a new government Saturday night in Rabin Square. Israel Police estimated that 40,000 people attended; the event’s organizers claimed more than 80,000 people showed up.

The rally was held under the banner, “Israel wants change,” and was being billed as an anti-Benjamin Netanyahu event.

Among the speakers scheduled to take part in the event were former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, Michal Kestan-Kedar ( the widow of a lieutenant-colonel who was killed in Operation Defensive Edge), a social justice activist, journalists and others.

In his speech, Dagan told the crowd that he is more scared of Israel’s leadership than its enemies. Saying that he wants neither a bi-national state nor an apartheid state, the former Mossad chief derided the current leadership for using fear and threats to present peace as unattainable.

“To those who say we don’t have any alternative, as somebody who worked directly with three prime ministers: there is a better alternative,” Dagan said.

“Just as there are unavoidable wars there are also unavoidable elections,” the visibly ill former Mossad chief said, describing the upcoming elections as an emergency call-up that Israel cannot ignore.

Former Israeli general Amiram Levine also addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative. Addressing Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Amiram argued that peace “is the only way to preserve the settlement project, the settlement blocs and to hold on to the Golan Heights.”

Both men used the word “apartheid” in their warnings of the direction Israel is headed.

Supporters of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s ‘Zionist Camp’ at a rally calling to oust Prime Minister Netanyahu, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Supporters of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s ‘Zionist Camp’ at a rally calling to oust Prime Minister Netanyahu, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israelis at a rally calling to oust PM Netanyahu, people toss a large ball with Netanyahu’s likeness on it that reads, ‘throwing [out] the Bibi’, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israelis at a rally calling to oust PM Netanyahu, people toss a large ball with Netanyahu’s likeness on it that reads, ‘throwing [out] the Bibi’, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The event comes 10 days before Israelis head to the polls with no clear winner predicted. Labor and Tzipi Livni’s “Zionist Camp” is showing as the largest party in most polls, although Netanyahu’s Likud is not far behind.

Behind the Zionist Camp (23) and Likud (21), the Joint List of Arab parties grew in the most recent polls to up to 15 seats, according to aggregate polling Project 61.

Netanyahu has ruled out the possibility of forming a unity government with the Zionist Camp, leaving two possible coalitions: a far-right government that includes one or two of the centrist parties and the ultra-Orthodox; and, a center-left government that includes the centrist parties and the ultra-Orthodox, with the support of the Joint List from the opposition.

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    1. Bryan

      Meir Dagan told the crowd that he is more scared of Israel’s leadership than its enemies – to which one has to say “what enemies?” – what threat do a few campaigners for human rights actually pose? And if he was referring to Hamas he will be totally aware that relaxing the siege of Gaza would instantly resolve that problem.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan: Benjamin Netanyahu must convince those people outside of Israel that Israel is in danger so that they will donate money of which some goes into his own pocket. And, while I am thinking of it: Last year and in two years before that, Netanyahu started his donation drive so strong that he raised the anger of the nearby arabs by calling them names and insulting them to the point of them fighting back. Many years ago Moshe Dayan explained to me how Israeli politicians would anger one group and then another and then another so he had to fight everybody! Netanyahu, in his own greed, endangers the people of Israel and its neighbors by putting one against the other.

        Reply to Comment
      • C.C. DeVille

        You are wrong. Israel has dangerous enemies. And easing the blockade will not change anything along those lines. I know you can’t be this naive, you just want to push buttons.

        Reply to Comment
        • C.C. DeVille If you were speaking to me YOU are wrong, there are enemies- I was explaining how Netanyahu makes those people enemies of Israel. Last year and two years before Israel’s neighbors were peaceful- now there are many very willing to fight now that Netanyahu has made them believe Israel hates them. Shut Netanyahu’s mouth.

          Reply to Comment
        • Weiss

          That line of thinking is as pathetic as that 80’s Spandex wearing AWFUL Hair band Poison …

          Reply to Comment
          • C.C. DeVille

            Weiss: a whiney bitch like you of course has no taste.

            Reply to Comment
          • Weiss

            CC Deville… A sh!tyy guitarist in a really SH!tty 80’s hair band.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          If you are better informed on the matter than a recent Mossad head then I guess we will just have to take your word for it, but I am sure given your hundreds of nuclear weapons, unspecified chemical and biological weapons, one of the strongest militaries in the world, equipped with leading edge American military technology, with 176,500 active personnel and 445,000 reserve personnel, and with recent battle experience in Lebanon, and urban war experience in Gaza and the West Bank, and with leading edge radar, air-borne early warning systems, drones and other detection equipment, and numerous security “fences”, checkpoints and other barriers you will probably rise to the challenge if and when someone attacks you

          Reply to Comment
    2. Good that there are those who are standing in opposition to Netanyahu. Benjamin Netanyahu will make himself a very wealthy man if he succeeds in stopping Iran’s nuclear material cleaning program- Netanyahu owns majority interest in a nuclear material cleaning business- no competition means much more profits for himself. His personal wealth should be put behind the well being of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      500,000 Israelis came out for a peace rally after the assassination of Rabin but the Israeli voter still voted and elected Natanyahu for Prime Minister.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X: Justice- Golda Meir did not die of disease- Rabin killed her. I was listening to her on the phone when I heard the gunshot. Then I heard the phone hit the table or desk. Then, within 10 seconds of the gunshot, Rabin said to me on Golda’s phone: “Your friend will be buried according to Hebrew tradition”. I did tell a few history people but not the important people- a peaceful transition was important to me.

        Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        …After Satanyahoo INCITED the Rabin assassination ….

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bruce Gould

      Did Dagan actually say thee word “apartheid”?!

      Reply to Comment
    5. In 2002, Netanyahu testified before congress about the dangers of the nonexistent Iraq nuclear weapons program, now, he wants to lie us into war with Iran. Don’t be fooled twice, he is warmonger.

      Reply to Comment
      • I do not consider Netanyahu a war monger- in his efforts to make money he goes too far and incites people, then, stupidly, he finds himself in a war. Maybe tying him to a post in Gaza would teach him to start respecting people other than those that give him money. Attitude adjustment done to Netanyahu would calm him down and others in the region could go on with their daily lives with peace of mind.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Lo

      It’s pretty remarkable that Netanyahu/Likud has managed to screw up so much in Israel so quickly.

      Besides letting the Palestinian issue continue to fester and alienating Israel’s only real ally (sugar daddy, is probably a more accurate description), Netanyahu/Likud have been completely silent on the bread and butter issues that actually affect Israelis. High and mighty posturing about “security of the Jewish people!” is fine and dandy, provided housing did not jump 30% in a couple years. Who cares about the Palestinians’ suffering when you can’t even afford cottage cheese anymore? Is ISIS really a larger threat to the average Israeli than high youth unemployment and declining wages?

      Because these issues cannot be solved with a crude “us versus them!” formulation, Netanyahu/Likud is silent. Since they can’t paint a scary caricature of Israel’s economic woes and say “they want to kill us!” there is no policy prescription. What is anti-semitic about the predictable effects of neo-liberal economics? Nothing. Which is why there can’t be a Im Tirtzu campaign against the “enemies” within and without.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Martin Elswer

      so, Obama’s “community organizers” and campaign staff go to Israel a month ago, and lo and behold, what do we have a few weeks later?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Pál Prónay

      Tens of thousands of cockroaches attended a rally to demand a new government Saturday night in Rabin Square.

      Reply to Comment