Benjamin Netanyahu will undergo hernia surgery, protests surge against his government


More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war and Israel has faced intense and growing international pressure over the death toll and the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The protests against Netanyahu’s government have since resumed.

Netanyahu’s popularity, already down over the judicial crisis, has plummeted further since the war, with successive opinion polls showing little faith in his leadership and a defeat by more centrist rivals if an election were held.

Police push people who take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas outside of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem.

Police push people who take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas outside of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem. Credit: AP

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Jerusalem on Sunday (Israel-time) against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and against exemptions granted to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from military service, in scenes reminiscent of mass street protests last year.

Protest groups, including some that led the mass demonstrations that rocked Israel in 2023, organised the rally outside parliament, the Knesset, calling for a new election to replace the government.

The protesters also want a more equal share in the burden of army service that binds most Israelis. About 600 soldiers have been killed so far since the Hamas attack of October 7 and the ensuing war in Gaza, the military’s highest casualty toll in years.

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Israel’s N12 News said it appeared to be the largest demonstration since the war began. Haaretz and Ynet news sites said it drew tens of thousands of people.

Netanyahu’s cabinet has faced widespread criticism over the security failure of the Hamas attack on southern Israel.

“This government is a complete and utter failure,” said 74-year-old Nurit Robinson, at the rally. “They will lead us into the abyss.”

Israel’s war in the Palestinian enclave has aggravated a longstanding source of friction in society that is also unsettling Netanyahu’s coalition government – exemptions granted to ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students from service in the country’s conscript military.

Reuters

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