Israelis protest against Netanyahu maintaining social distancing

TEL AVIV: Thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday while maintaining the country’s strict Covid-19 social distancing rules.

More than 2,000 protesters, according to media estimates, gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv following a call launched on Facebook for the “Black Flag” movement demanding Netanyahu to be removed from power.

Wearing face masks and keeping two meters distance, the protesters holding banners that “Save the Democracy,” called the Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party not to join in a coalition led by Netanyahu, who faces corruption charges

Worst political crisis

Israeli Netanyahu reached a historic deal Monday with one-time rival parliament speaker Benny Gantz to form an emergency unity government, ending the country’s worst political crisis.

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Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier and head of the right-wing Likud party, had squared off against Gantz in three inconclusive elections over the past year. 

The 60-year-old Gantz has been in the public eye since first declaring political ambitions and running for office in December 2018.

Within months, his centrist Blue and White party shocked Israeli politics by matching Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud in polls last April and then edging slightly ahead of it in September.

After the vote, anti-Netanyahu forces, despite their deep divisions, unanimously rallied behind Gantz and recommended him to form a government. 

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In his first remarks after that election, Gantz called for an emergency unity government, saying “these are unusual times and they call for unusual decisions”. 

Monday’s deal will allow Netanyahu to stay in office for 18 months, with Gantz taking over for another 18 months before new elections.

Israel has more than 13,500 confirmed virus cases, including more than 170 deaths, and a nationwide lockdown has left huge numbers of people without income. 

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