Thousands protest in Israel's Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, demand Benjamin Netanyahu's resignation over corruption

Jerusalem: Thousands of Israelis on Saturday held a demonstration in Tel Aviv for the fourth week running calling for the resignation of the "corrupt" government and its head.

In Jerusalem, hundreds also took part in a rally against graft headed by a rightwing former member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's staff.

Organiser Yoaz Hendel said the Jerusalem protest was "in support of law enforcement".

The protests came days after Netanyahu lashed out against police, accusing them of conducting an investigation against him aimed at ending his premiership.

Netanyahu has been questioned seven times in the past year in two corruption probes.

File image of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

File image of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

Protesters in central Tel Aviv held signs calling for the resignation of the "crime minister" and other "corrupt" members of Netanyahu's government suspected of misconduct.

In Jerusalem, one sign read: "We deserve clean politics".

Speaking at the Jerusalem rally, former defence minister Moshe Yaalon said corruption worried him more than anything else.

"It's a greater danger than the Iranian threat, (Lebanese movement) Hezbollah, (Palestinian movement) Hamas or the Islamic State" jihadist group, he said of corruption, without naming Netanyahu.

"Corruption is a disease," he said, "a disease that must be healed by electing and appointing honest people."

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and says he is the target of a smear campaign by political opponents.

In one investigation, he is suspected of illegally receiving gifts from rich personalities including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

In a second case, police suspect Netanyahu sought a secret pact for favourable coverage with the publisher of the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalised, would have seen him receive favourable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.

The 68-year-old premier has not been formally implicated, but reports say police were set to recommend the justice ministry press charges.


Updated Date: Dec 24, 2017 10:08 AM

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