Chanting “No to war” and holding signs reading “Bibi, you ruined our lives. Don’t end them,” hundreds of people gathered in front of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s apartment building in central Tel Aviv last night to protest an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The crowd, mostly young people, at least one in costume, chanted slogans against Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like “Bibi and Barak are dangerous,” or the more straightforward, "Get out."Many held signs featuring the logo of the left-wing Meretz party.
Beyond the chants, and an odd series of emotive poems read near the end of the protest, a few public figures lent their support. Dov Khenin, a member of the Arab-Jewish Knesset party Hadash, said a strike on Iran would be “a terrible, horrible tragedy.”
“We can all understand the costs and sacrifices of it, but few can say what its benefit is,” Khenin said.
Khenin argued that an Israeli strike “can’t eliminate the Iranian threat, but it can unite the Iranian people behind the government.”
Netanyahu has argued that economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts have so far been ineffective and that the Iranian nuclear program must be stopped, as it poses a grave threat to Israel’s security. Recent reports have stated that Iran’s nuclear program continues to advance despite efforts aimed at halting it.
Daphni Leef, who started Israel’s social protest movement last summer, also spoke at the rally, and admonished Barak for creating tension in Israelis’ everyday existence.
“We have no idea if our lives are ending today, tomorrow, next year or in 50 years,” she said.
The protest leaders said they would return every night to the same spot to campaign against a strike on Iran, but a few protesters seemed skeptical that the chants would get Barak to descend from his apartment, let alone rule out a strike on Iran. “I don’t think there’s a direct connection” between the protest and stopping an attack, said Eshed Sohwero, 28, “but it can make others supportive and create public opposition.”
Behind the speakers, a man in a Batman costume held a sign that read, “Bibi and Ehud, leave the explosives and effects to real superheroes.”