Tens of thousands rally against Israel's 'worst prime minister'

Demonstrations in Tel Aviv have grown to tens of thousands, with citizens accusing Netanyahu of prolonging the Gaza war and undermining Israeli democracy. (Photo/AFP)

Tens of thousands of protesters waving Israeli flags and chanting slogans against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have rallied in Tel Aviv, demanding new elections and the return of hostages held in Gaza.

Large protests have occurred on Saturday in the Israeli city on a weekly basis over Netanyahu's handling of the nearly nine-month-old war in Gaza.

Many protesters held signs reading "Crime Minister" and "Stop the War" as people poured into the biggest Israeli city's main thoroughfare.

"I am here because I am afraid of the future of my grandchild. There will be no future for them if we don't go out and get rid of the horrible government," said 66-year-old contractor Shai Erel.

"All of the rats in the Knesset... I wouldn't let any one of them be a guard of a kindergarten."

Anti-government protest organisation Hofshi Israel estimated more than 150,000 people attended the rally, calling it the biggest since Tel Aviv launched a war on Gaza.

'Worst prime minister'

Some demonstrators lay on the ground covered in red paint in the city's Democracy Square to protest what they say is the death of the country's democracy under Netanyahu.

In an address to the crowd, a former head of Israel's domestic Shin Bet security agency, Yuval Diskin, condemned Netanyahu as Israel's "worst prime minister".

Many are frustrated with the country's far-right coalition, which includes Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and other extremists, accusing it of prolonging the war in Gaza and putting the country's security and hostages at risk.

Yoram, a 50-year-old tour guide who declined to give his last name, said he was attending every weekly protest as Israel needed elections "yesterday" because of Netanyahu.

"I really hope that the government collapses," he said. "If we go to the original date of elections in 2026, it is not going to be a democratic election."

Israel's Gaza invasion began on October 7 and killed nearly 38,000 Palestinians after the Palestinian resistance group Hamas attacked Israel.

Israel believes 116 Israeli hostages are held by Hamas and they remain in Gaza.

A separate Tel Aviv rally on Saturday night drew thousands of relatives and supporters of the hostages.


Source: TRT