Protests mount in Israel

Submitted by AWL on 15 July, 2020 - 8:16 Author: Ira Berkovic
Israel protest over Covid-19 and economic policy

The Israeli government’s plan to annex Palestinian territories remains stalled, with Israel coming under increasing pressure from other countries to change course. Egypt, France, Germany, and Jordan have all told Israel that pushing ahead with annexation would have “consequences” for diplomatic relations between the countries.

Opposition from within the far-right settler movement, parts of which feel the annexation plan doesn’t go far enough, is also holding back government efforts.

Meanwhile, public opposition to the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is mounting. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday 11 July, to protest over the issue, demanding increased social provision.

Payments from government compensation schemes, set up to support those who work has been affected by the pandemic, have been slow to arrive, or have not arrived at all. Self-employed workers have been particularly badly hit, and unemployment has risen to 21%.

The demonstration blocked major roads in Tel Aviv, and 20 people were arrested.

Ayman Odeh, a left-wing member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, who heads the Joint List of leftist and Arab nationalist parties, tweeted a picture of the protest, saying: “There is nothing more political than bread prices. Welcome to the opposition.”

Since Israel began lifting lockdown restrictions in May, infection rates have spiked. 1,500 new cases were recorded on Friday 10 July. Some restrictions are now being reimposed, meaning still more people will have their incomes or jobs impacted.

According to polling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval rating has plummeted to 46%, from a high of 73% in mid-May.

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