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Thousands fill Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square under the message: “Changing Direction: Toward Peace, Away from War”
The peaceful rally was the largest demonstration in Israel since it launched operation “Protective Edge on July 8, an offensive that has seen at least 1,980 Palestinian deaths and 67 on the Israeli side.
It was organized by the progressive Meretz party and Peace Now, an activist group opposed to Jewish settlement building on occupied territory.
Protesters also expressed anger at the Netanyahu government, chanting “Bibi, go home!”
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On said Netanyahu should quit because he failed in his attempts to bring quiet to the South, despite having a “blank check” to act for five years. She said Israel would do better to lift the blockade on Gaza, end the occupation of Palestinian territories and return to negotiations that extend beyond a cease-fire.
“You could have achieved the framework you are willing to accept now without paying the price of 64 dead soldiers and the deaths of civilians,” Gal-On told Netanyahu. The crowd shouted “Bibi go home.”
…Against the backdrop of the Tel Aviv Municipality building, lit up as an enormous Israeli flag, people carried signs reading, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” and “When there is no peace, war comes.”
From the Times of Israel:
Author David Grossman addressed the crowd, and said that Israelis “are losing our home to fanaticism and internal hatred.”
“Dangerous movements are coming to pass in Israel because of the despair, the anxiety, nationalism and racism erupting all at once,” he said. “Not one word of condemnation has been uttered by the prime minister. It will be very difficult to rein in the dark forces. I’m concerned that the leaders enjoyed seeing the Left held hostage, but this tide will turn against them when they appear too moderate. These processes and phenomena will unfortunately turn Israel into a radical, militant, xenophobic cult, isolated and ostracized.”