‘Netanyahu’s resignation’: protesters demand removal of PM in Jerusalem

Thousands of Israelis staged protests in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, demanding his resignation as the government overcomes fire to combat the coronovirus epidemic.

Some of the placards made by protesters on Tuesday read “Netanyahu’s corruption makes us sick” and “Netanyahu, resignation”.

“The deadliest virus is not COVID-19, but corruption,” defender Laurent Cage, who came from Tel Aviv to the AFP news agency, told AFP news agency.

Netanyahu was indicted in January for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases.

In May, he was forced to form a new unity government after more than a year of political turmoil and insisted that he was charged for his removal from office.

The next hearing in the Jerusalem district court has been set as July 19.

Under Israeli law, a sitting prime minister is only required to resign, if convicted of a criminal offense with all appeals, which could take several years in Netanyahu’s case.

Israeli protestors detained during a demonstration in Jerusalem [Menahem Kahana/AFP]

Growing discontent

Demonstrators criticized Israel’s handling of the novel coronavirus epidemic, as the Ministry of Health announced more than 1,400 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours.

On Monday, police dispersed a group of activists who set up tents outside Netanyahu’s government residence.

Thousands of people staged a protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday to raise voice on the Prime Minister and his economic policies.

Netanyahu is also facing a growing wave of discontent to deal with the coronovirus crisis.

Israel is now experiencing a rapid rise in coronovirus cases and the economy is struggling as unemployment is above 20 percent.

In a country of some nine million people, more than 41,200 coronavirus cases have been reported, including 368 deaths.

After gaining widespread acclaim for quickly sealing Israel’s borders and imposing other sanctions in March, Netanyahu admitted last week that he also opened up the economy quickly.

The government lifted some restrictions in late May, but last week announced new closures, nightclubs and gyms.

Israeli unemployment has increased from 3.4 percent in February to 27 percent in April, to 23.5 percent in May.