Thousands protest as former security chief accuses Netanyahu of 'endangering Israel'

Thousands protest as former security chief accuses Netanyahu of 'endangering Israel'
Fresh allegations of corruption against Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu have intensified protests across the country.
2 min read
29 November, 2020
Protesters are demanding an investigation into the so-called submarine affair [Getty]
Thousands of protesters across Israel demonstrated against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening, marking 23 weeks of such protests in a row.

Masses of demontrators gathered outside the Israeli leader's official residence in Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

Demonstrations also took place in Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Holon, as well as in the Palestinian-majority towns of Taibeh, Umm al-Fahm and Kafr Yassif.

Protesters renewed their call for Netanyahu to resign over allegations of corruption. The prime minister is currently embroiled in an ongoing court case on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust.

The demonstrations have continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with anger intensifying this month over allegations of bribery in the state purchase of submarines from Germany.

Government critics accuse Netanyahu of corruption in the so-called submarine affair, and several of his close associates have been charged in the case.

You've become a danger to Israel's security 
- Ami Ayalon, former Shin Bet chief

The scandal also involved the sale of submarines and warships by Germany to Egypt, which was allegedly approved by Netanyahu without consulting the Defence Ministry.

Demonstrators have not been satisfied by an investigative committee set up by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, however. Protesters say the committee lacks the necessary legal powers to take action.

"Those who have sold and keep selling us the slogan 'Israel comes first,' are groveling once again, while putting Bibi [Netanyahu] and themselves first, by setting up a fake commission with no powers," retired Major General Amiram Levin told protesters.
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"You put Israel last. Defence minister – what a disgrace. Preventing an investigation into the submarine affair is transforming us from a country with corruption to a corrupt country, led by a corrupt regime. We will not agree to this and that's why we are here," Levin continued.

Ami Ayalon, a former director of Israel's Shin Bet security agency, also lashed out at Netanyahu.

"You've become a danger to Israel's security," Ayalon said. "You are crushing Israeli society. But we are here to tell you: 'take the defendant's seat and fight to prove your innocence'."

The Israeli prime minister has also been criticised over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, as well as over the arrest of anti-Netanyahu protesters.

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