The Israeli police deployed water cannons on Saturday evening to expel protesters who protested against the government. The protesters are angry at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the corona crisis and his alleged corruption.
Thousands of protesters gathered in front of Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem and in a park in Tel Aviv on Saturday. According to a police spokesman, the demonstrations were allowed, but actions were taken due to a number of “disruptions”, such as roadblocks set up by the demonstrators.
Several people have been arrested after the protesters in Tel Aviv are said to have used pepper spray against the police. A total of 15 people were arrested in Jerusalem, and 13 in Tel Aviv, according to The Israel Times. Eyewitnesses report that the protesters did not keep enough distance from each other, but that almost all protesters wore masks.
In Israel, corona infections have been increasing recently, with over a thousand cases per day. This was the reason for the government to announce new measures before Friday. For example, shops are closed on weekends, and food from restaurants can only be collected or delivered.
Government communication, however, leaves much to be desired, according to The Jerusalem Post newspaper. Although the above measures should have taken effect on Friday, Netanyahu decided to postpone closing restaurants for guests until Tuesday morning that same day. By this time, customers had already canceled their reservations, and some of their operators had already sold their weekend supplies at cost. It leads to anger and misunderstanding among the operators. They fear to succumb to the ever-changing measures of the government.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has admitted that he reopened the economy too quickly in late April and early May after a severe lockdown. At that time, there were no more than a few dozen infections a day. A record 1,681 new infections were reported on Tuesday. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, USA, a total of 49,365 coronavirus infections have been reported in Israel. Four hundred one inhabitants died from the effects of the lung virus.
In addition to the corona crisis, Netanyahu has other concerns. He is a suspect in a corruption lawsuit. The trial continues on Sunday, during which Netanyahu is accused of receiving money from wealthy businesspeople in exchange for supporting their businesses. Also, in exchange for positive media coverage, the prime minister is said to have made policies to favor a telecom company owned by the same owner. Two former Netanyahu employees will testify against the prime minister.
It is the first time in Israel’s history that a prime minister has been tried.