Apr 19, 2020 - World

Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing while protesting Netanyahu

Masses of protestors all standing six feet from one another
Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 2,000 Israelis stood 6 feet apart in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Sunday to protest what they consider the erosion of democracy under the coronavirus-era government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz reports.

The big picture: The "Black Flag" demonstrations, which began in March, are a response to stringent coronavirus policies that include phone tracking for civilians. Police marked spots on the ground where protesters could stand, and organizers were required to provide participants with masks, Haaretz notes.

What they're saying: As Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz work to form a unity government, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid — who was part of the same Blue and White party as Gantz up until last month — accused them of destroying Israeli democracy, according to the Times of Israel.

  • “They are fighting to get into the government,” Lapid said in a speech to protestors. “Telling themselves stories. They say, 'We’ll fight from the inside.' You won’t fight from the inside. You don’t fight corruption from within. If you’re inside, you’re part of it."
  • “A person with indictments can’t appoint a police chief, a state prosecutor, an attorney general, the judges who will deal with his case. That is Netanyahu’s list of demands. ... That’s how democracies die in the 21st century. They’re not wiped out by tanks overrunning parliament. They die from within."
In photos
A protestor
A protester wearing a face mask with " crime minister" written on it. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
Protestors standing at a distance
Protestors standing at a distance. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
A protestor
The measures are being attacked as anti-democratic by opponents. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
Woman wearing facemask and protesting Netanyahu
Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images
Go deeper