07/13/2020, 11.11
ISRAEL
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Tel Aviv, Covid-19 and the economic crisis: thousands take to streets against Netanyahu

Over the weekend, Rabin Square was filled with demonstrators against economic policy and emergency management. Led by young people and small business holders, for months without wages. At least 20 people stopped by the police. Contagions are growing again in the country.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Several thousand people - up to 80 thousand according to some unofficial sources - took to the streets over the weekend, wearing masks but without distancing as on other occasions, to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the his government.

On the evening of 11 July, Rabin Square, the heart of Tel Aviv, was filled with people angry with the executive's economic policy, the management of the Covid-19 emergency and the lack of support for businesses and individuals.

The square was crowded with young people and small business holders, the soul of the protest against the government that has failed to allocate - after months - the promised subsidies to overcome the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus.

Slogans chanted in the streets include: "Corrupt, we are tired of you".

The events were attended by professionals from the agri-food and catering sector, personalities from the world of entertainment, sport, employees from the tourism sector and others. The collapse of these activities have caused a spike in unemployment with some families on the verge of starvation.

Moreover the funding , greatly heralded by Netanyahu never came, unlike the public workers and wage earners who have seen their income guaranteed by the state for all these months.

Michal Gaist-Casif, vice-president of a company that produces lights and sounds, tells of "40 workers without wages, left without a cent". The government must "inject money" until the situation "returns to normal: we have not been working since mid-March and by August the situation is likely to be catastrophic".

In parallel with the demonstration of 11 July, marches followed on the streets of the main cities, blocks and stakes of protest, promoted by the "Black flags" movement which insistently asks for the resignation of Netanyahu, accused of corruption, fraud and abuse of power.

Local sources report that the police arrested over 20 people following clashes between law enforcement officers and demonstrators. Several people have been interrogated and two, imprisoned, will be tried for direct.

Yesterday, Israeli Finance Minister Yisrael Katz said he understood "the demands and pain of the protesters", announcing an "economic safety net" for employees and self-employed workers within the next year. In recent months, unemployment has reached 21% and many Israelis are convinced that the government has not done enough to compensate for the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs and the income from closures and restrictions.

Israel recently experienced a new escalation in contagions, with 1,500 cases confirmed on 10 July. So far there are 354 victims of Covid-19.

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