Tens of thousands gather in Tel Aviv for anti-Netanyahu rally


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square calling for a change in the government.

“Israel Wants Change,” as the anti-Netanyahu rally held Saturday night was titled, attracted up to 40,000 people. The event was organized by the One Million Hands movement, a grassroots campaign against right-wing political parties in Israel that calls for a focus on socioeconomic issues.

“Israel is surrounded by enemies. Enemies do not scare me; I worry about our leadership,” former Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the crowd. “I am afraid of our leadership. I am afraid of a loss of determination, of a loss of personal example. I am afraid of hesitancy and stalemate, and I am afraid above all of the crisis of leadership, a leadership crisis that is the most severe ever here.”

Dagan accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “dragging us down to a binational state and to the end of the Zionist dream.”

Two nights earlier, Dagan in an interview on Israeli television slammed Netanyahu and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett for policies stirring  problems with the Palestinians and the Unites States.

Other rally speakers included Michal Kastan Keidar, the widow of an officer killed in last summer’s Gaza military operation, and Amiram Levin, a former commander of the IDF’s Northern Command and ex-deputy Mossad chief. Keidar accused Netanyahu of being more concerned with Iran than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A pro-Netanyahu rally is scheduled for the same venue on Saturday night, three days before Israel’s national elections.

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