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Israel approves law to limit protests against Netanyahu

September 30, 2020 at 2:14 pm

People protest against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation in West Jerusalem on September 27, 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel this morning passed a law limiting demonstrations, which critics say is an effort to silence protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The law, which passed its final reading by 46 votes to 38, allows the government to declare a “special week-long state of emergency” if the coronavirus continues to spread.

If such a state is to be implemented, the government would be able to limit participation in assemblies, including protests, to one kilometre from a person’s home, effectively putting a halt to large weekly demonstrations outside Netanyahu’s residence.

Moreover, demonstrators will also be confined to “capsules” of no more than 20 people.

Before the vote, hundreds of Israelis gathered in Western Jerusalem to protest against restricting anti-Netanyahu demonstrations across the country, calling the protest limit a blow to democracy.

After the law was passed, Yair Lapid, the head of Israel’s leftist Yesh Atid party, wrote on Twitter: “What’s the next step? Banning the opposition leader from addressing parliament?”

READ: Israel protesters place washing machines in front of Netanyahu’s home

Israel currently has the world’s highest infection rate per capita, with the daily number of new cases exceeding 8,000 last week despite the second lockdown.

Anti-Netanyahu protests in the country erupted three months ago, with demonstrators demanding the prime minister resign over bribery accusations, breach of trust, and three other corruption cases.


Netanyahu, 70, is the first Israeli prime minister to face trial while in office. He denies the accusations.

Former army General Yair Golan of the opposition left-wing Meretz party warned the new law “won’t stop the demonstrations”.

“The anger growing in the streets will find its way out,” added Golan.