Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Saturday, against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to pass legislation that would curb the powers of the High Court.
The legislation could grant Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the authority of the court. The “pro-democracy” demonstrations organised by Israeli opposition parties accused Netanyahu of trying to pass legislation that safeguards him from corruption cases.
Netanyahu who is newly elected for a fifth term as prime minister despite facing accusations in three corruption cases, denied all the accusations claiming that the opposition is trying to defame him.
The Israeli attorney general announced in February that he planned to accuse Netanyahu of fraud and bribery. Netanyahu is accused of “accepting gifts from wealthy businesspersons and dispensed favours to try to get more positive press coverage.”
Netanyahu supporters in the Likud Party have vowed to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution while he is in power. They also support legislation that would overturn any High Court ruling to drop immunity.
Blue and White, Labor, and Meretz parties organised the protest, but they did not invite any Arab parties to take part in the protest in the beginning. But a few hours before the protest and following public pressure, the organisers invited Arab Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, the chairperson of Hadash, to speak.
“This evening, at the left-wing protest in Tel Aviv – terror supporter – Ayman Odeh is speaking with the blessing of Lapid and Gantz [Israeli opposition leaders], and the released prisoner Ehud Olmert is demonstrating ‘against corruption.’ What a joke,” said the Likud Party in a statement following the protest.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu held negotiations with some Israeli parties in order to form a new coalition to announce the new government, but it seems that he will have to call for a new election as he has failed until now in forming the coalition.