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Massive Rally in Israel Calls for Fresh Elections, Criticizes Netanyahu’s Government

On Monday, a multitude of Israelis persisted in their three-day demonstration against the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rallying for fresh elections on the streets of Jerusalem.

As the sixth month of the Gaza War nears its end, the protests have intensified amid growing public anger over the government’s handling of the 134 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

“We’re here to protest. We’re demanding elections as soon as possible. We feel like we’ve reached a breaking point. We really need to remove Bibi,” stated Jerusalem protester Timna Benn.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of individuals participated in weekly protests against proposals to alter the powers of the Supreme Court, which many saw as an attack on Israel’s democratic principles. These protests marked some of the largest demonstrations in Israel’s history against Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition.

Opinion polls suggest that Netanyahu would lose in early elections, which he has consistently opposed, arguing that holding elections during a conflict would only benefit Hamas.

He has pledged to secure the release of the hostages and put an end to Hamas, the Islamist group governing Gaza. According to health authorities in Gaza under Hamas control, Israel has been conducting attacks on Gaza for months, resulting in the deaths of over 32,000 Palestinians.

However, with the Gaza crisis causing a hiatus in regular political processes for several months, Netanyahu has faced mounting criticism.

Surveys indicate that most Israelis hold Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, responsible for the security lapses that led to the devastating Hamas attack on southern Israeli communities on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths according to Israeli counts, and the capture of numerous hostages.

“They are not concerned about the country’s affairs or its people. They are concerned about preserving their government positions. They are working for themselves, not for the people. It’s as simple as that,” commented protester Refael Shakked-Gavish.

Adding to the complexity, ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrators have been directing their ire at Netanyahu due to their displeasure over the removal of exemptions that previously spared young individuals attending religious seminaries from mandatory military service.

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