09/30/2020, 11.12
ISRAEL
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Knesset, a law to stifle protests against Netanyahu

The norm, proposed by the executive, gets a green light at the end of a marathon meeting of Parliament. It bans demonstrating beyond one kilometre away from one's home. For the opposition, the directive violates the rights of citizens. According to a survey, only 25% approve of the government's work.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli parliament today approved a government law, which aims to stifle the wave of protests in Israel against the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The executive is being criticized over its management of the coronavirus pandemic, with a surge in new cases that has led to a second total lockdown, and the management of the economic crisis. The premier, on the other hand, is considered inadequate to the role due to the accusations of fraud and corruption which he must answer to in court.

The law, which got the green light after a marathon debate that lasted for most of the night in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) prohibits citizens from promoting demonstrations beyond a kilometer away from their homes. A measure, executive sources explain, aimed at containing Covid-19 infections and part of an almost total closure in place since 18 September.

According to critics, the law wanted by the government and approved today actually aims to block the numerous protests, which have been taking place for months now in front of Prime Minister Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem. "What will be the next step?" asks opposition leader Yair Lapid, perhaps "to prevent the opposition leader from addressing Parliament".

According to the latest polls, only a quarter of citizens approve of the government’s actions and trust the prime minister’s handling of the pandemic. On the eve of the vote, hundreds of Israelis demonstrated outside the Knesset, calling the limit to protests a fatal blow to democracy.

The new lockdown, which shut down schools and limited commercial activities, was necessary after daily peaks of 7 thousand infections, on a total population of nine million inhabitants. A growth that has also had repercussions on hospitals and the health system, which risk overloading. Netanyahu claims proper management of the health crisis and claims he has no political motivation to crack down on protests.

However, the virus continues to spread mainly in neighborhoods and areas inhabited by ultra-Orthodox Jews, where there is a tendency to fail to comply with health measures to stem infections, including social distancing and masks. To date, Israel has recorded over 234,000 cases of the new coronavirus and more than 1,500 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the infection

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