Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Israelis gather at a rally, calling for a change of Government and to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, March 7, 2015. Some 50,000 people took part in the rally, according to local media. (Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Estimated 50,000 Rally Against Netanyahu in Tel Aviv

As organizer expressed 'hope that the left will return' to Israel, large crowd chanted 'Bibi go home!'

Jon Queally

Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling government in the nation's capital of Tel Aviv on Saturday night as they decried the leader's domestic policies and called for a peace agreement with the Palestinians who live in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Government estimates put the rally at 40,000, but organizers and local media outlets expressed certainty the number was more than 50,000 people.

Less than two weeks from national elections on March 17, the protest rally held in Yitzhak Rabin Square is the largest showing of late from the nation's left-leaning and more-centrist forces who criticize Netanyahu (known by his nickname 'Bibi') for the way his far-right Likud Party has ruled in recent years.

According to CNN:

The rally, called "Israel Wants Change," was put on by One Million Hands, a grassroots movement that focuses its efforts on two major issues: a two-state solution and a reduction in the cost of living.

On both of these topics, founder Dror Ben-Ami says, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed.

"We think that the only way to go forward on that account is to change government and to get this current government out of office. To get Bibi out of office," says Ben-Ami.

Organizers are not promoting any specific candidate or pushing voters toward any political party in the March 17 balloting. Instead, they are encouraging voters to change the current administration.

The Associated Press reports the rally was not officially endorsed by any political party, but drew mostly supporters of leftist and centrist parties. The keynote speaker was former Mossad chief Meir Dagan who recently slammed Netanyahu's conduct and called him "the person who has caused the greatest strategic damage to Israel."

At the rally, Dagan told the crowd, "Israel has enemies but I do not fear them. What scares me is the current leadership of the country."

Though recent polling shows Likud's most imposing challenger for the March 17 elections remains the similarly rightwing Zionist Union party, the renewed clamor from Netanyahu's left-flank is seen as a positive sign for those more progressive-minded Israelis who have largely been dis-empowered in recent years.

Saturday's demonstration, said Ben Ami, was a demonstration of strength "by Israeli citizens who are demanding a change of politics" and "a peace agreement" with the Palestinians.

"The current government has failed on the social and economic fronts and has not improved the security situation, the country has broken down… We hope that the left will return," he said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Sanders, Top Dems Optimistic Party Will 'Come Together' for Reconciliation Package

However, House leaders warn they may miss a September 27 deadline to consider Senate-approved infrastructure legislation that progressives will only support alongside a $3.5 trillion bill.

Jessica Corbett ·

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·

Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·

'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo