Israelis protest poor government response to coronavirus

Thousands of Israelis held a protest in downtown Tel Aviv on Saturday, showing their anger over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to address the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With economic stress deepening in recent weeks, many Israelis think the government has not done enough to compensate hundreds of thousands of workers who lost their jobs as a result of restrictions and shutdowns. Unemployment has surged over 20%, and Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet, according to Associated Press.

The protest was organized by unemployed, self-employed, entrepreneurs and business owners who gathered in central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Participants wore masks but did not appear to be following social distancing rules. One man held a photo of Netanyahu with the words “The No. 1 Corrupt Person.”

“We are not working already nearly five months and unfortunately most of us have not received any compensation from the Israeli government and this is really a tragedy,” said Daniel Tieder, a protester. “In every country all over the world people have received compensation and support from their government. Unfortunately, here in Israel, nothing yet.”

The large turnout at Rabin Square was a sign of widespread discontent with the government’s policies.

Amid the ongoing health crisis, Israel’s new government, which took office in May, has been accused by some of reopening the economy too quickly. That has caused a new spike in infections that is expected to put more people out of work as a result of renewed closures.

Authorities now report record levels of more than 1,000 new cases a day, higher than any peak in the spring. The death toll is nearing 340.


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