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protest against Israel’s prime minister

Tens of thousands of protesters, waving Israeli flags and chanting slogans against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, gathered in Tel Aviv. They demanded new elections and the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Weekly protests in Tel Aviv have been ongoing, criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of the nearly nine-month-old war in Gaza. Demonstrators held signs declaring “Crime Minister” and “Stop the War” as they filled the city’s main thoroughfare.

“I am here because I fear for the future of my grandchildren. There will be no future for them if we do not act and remove this terrible government,” said Shai Erel, a 66-year-old contractor.

The anti-government organization Hofshi Israel estimated that over 150,000 people attended the rally, marking it as the largest since Tel Aviv’s conflict with Gaza began.

In a symbolic protest, some demonstrators lay on the ground covered in red paint in Democracy Square, accusing Netanyahu of eroding the country’s democracy.

Yuval Diskin, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, addressed the crowd, condemning Netanyahu as Israel’s “worst prime minister.”

Many demonstrators expressed frustration with Israel’s far-right coalition, including Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and other extremists, blaming them for prolonging the conflict in Gaza and endangering national security and hostages.

Yoram, a 50-year-old tour guide who declined to provide his last name, emphasized the urgency of elections, stating, “Israel needed elections yesterday because of Netanyahu. I really hope the government collapses.”

Israel’s Gaza operation, which began on October 7, resulted in nearly 38,000 Palestinian casualties after attacks by Hamas. Israel believes 116 hostages remain in Gaza, held by Hamas.

Separately, a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday night drew thousands of relatives and supporters of the hostages.

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