Likud supporters yesterday rallied in Tel Aviv in a show of support for the embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu faces a series of corruption allegations against himself and his family.
The rally which estimates put at between 2,000 – 3,000, was seen by many as a test of the PM’s popularity and control over his party while the attendance of several senior Likud ministers demonstrated that Mr Netanyahu still has wide-spread support within the Likud. However, Limor Livnat, a former Likud cabinet minister, condemned the Prime Minister’s attacks on the police and prosecution, and said that Mr Netanyahu should step aside if indicted.
In his speech, Mr. Netanyahu claimed that the allegations against him had been manufactured by the opposition who were attempting to topple the Likud-led government.
The Prime Minister also criticised the media and the left-wing, stating that “both the left and the media – it’s the same thing, you know – are enlisting now in an obsessive, unprecedented witch hunt against me my family with a goal to carry out a government coup. Their goal is to apply unacceptable and incessant pressure on law enforcement authorities to indict at all costs, regardless of the truth and justice. The thought police in the media are working full time, 24/7, and everybody has to align themselves with them”.
Mr. Netanyahu’s speech met with wide-spread criticism from opposition parties. The head of the Opposition Isaac Herzog described the speech as “shameful, degrading and dangerous”, while Labour party Chairman Avi Gabbay called on the PM to call elections “as soon as possible”.
Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said that the rally “crossed all lines.” “What we saw this evening was not a show of support for Netanyahu, but a show of support for corruption.”
Political Affairs Correspondent for Army Radio, Tal Lev-Ram said that while the rally was a success politically for Netanyahu it also demonstrated his concern about the ongoing investigations.