Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s economic policy in light of the coronavirus crisis, media outlets reported on Sunday.
More than 10,000 people gathered in central Rabin Square on Saturday evening to draw attention to the financial difficulties brought about the coronavirus crisis, especially self-employed Israelis. They accuse the government of not taking care of citizens’ needs.
Twelve demonstrators were arrested, a police spokesman said on Sunday. Some protesters reportedly clashed with police after they tried to block central streets in Tel Aviv. Three officers were slightly injured after demonstrators used pepper spray on them.
Netanyahu on Thursday presented his aid package to help people through the coronavirus crisis. The programme is intended to provide a safety net for the employed, self-employed and businesses through next June, he said. Finance Minister Israel Katz said the total package is worth about 80 billion shekels (23 billion dollars).
Coronavirus restrictions put in place earlier this year took a heavy toll on the Israeli economy, with the unemployment rate most recently registered at more than 20 per cent.
The country’s daily infection rate has been rising again, prompting new restrictions to be imposed, and further increasing criticism of Netanyahu over his crisis management abilities. According to the Health Ministry, over 37,400 people have been infected with the coronavirus, while 354 of them have died.
Source: Al Jazeera