TEL AVIV – More than 2,000 people turned out to protest close to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home on Saturday evening after a ruling by the High Court of Justice said that the weekly demonstrations calling for the AG to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges could resume.
Even though the ruling limited the number of protestors to 500, hundreds more went around police blockades and demonstrated in surrounding streets.
Last week two of the protest leaders were arrested after police prevented demonstrators from reaching Mandelblit’s home.
Likud coalition chairman David Bitan said that Saturday’s protest, which violated the court ruling with both the use of loudspeakers and the presence of an additional 1,500 protesters, proved that the left was only interested in adherence to the law when it suited their cause.
“The tyrants of the left only elevate the law when it’s convenient, but it turns out that in order to carry out a coup, not through elections, trampling the law is kosher,” Bitan said. “I expect the police to act with a strong hand and to enforce the court’s instructions against an anarchist minority.”
Rightwing counter-protesters accused the anti-Netanyahu camp of being “anti-Semites” and “hypocritical leftists,” Haaretz reported.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said that while the arrests last week of protest leaders Menny Naftali and Eldad Yaniv had been “an error in judgement,” he slammed the notion that the police aimed to silence the protesters.
“Let’s just say the truth: those who harm the rule of law are Eldad Yaniv and his friends who exert improper pressure on the attorney general,” he said.
The two investigations into Netanyahu include one case in which the prime minister and his wife Sara are charged with accepting illegal gifts – most notably cigars and champagne worth hundreds of thousands of shekels – from billionaire supporters. The second case charges the prime minister with extending favors to Yedioth Ahronoth‘s publisher Arnon (Noni) Mozes – including possible Knesset legislation against the rival Israel Hayom newspaper – in return for positive coverage.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.