TEL AVIV - Heeding call by a new "Movement for New Elections," 50,000 Israelis assembled in Rabin Square here June 28. The main demand was for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by new elections.
The mass rally had a unique character. It was not the usual faces of politicians, but public figures from various circles, from the political right and left, or politically unaffiliated. Among the speakers were several who only a year ago had been among the stoutest supporters of Netanyahu and his Likud party. Among the crowd that filled the Square were also well-known peace activists from the Peace Now and Gush Shalom bloc, Women for Peace and followers of left parties.
The psychologist Michal Hazan, for instance, was one of Netanyahu's closest advisors during the election campaign. Speaking at the rally, she asked, "What kind of a man are you, Netanyahu? ... Yes, you have beaten all of us - you have beaten down the peace process. New war is your device, as well as the death of hundreds of young Israelis. "
Then she called for action. "People, raise your voice, because in a new war, we may lose the only homeland we have. We have not given birth to our children to become new victims of unnecessary war adventures!"
Noting that Netanyahu's policies "of war and bloodshed" had succeeded in bringing the tens of thousands of Israelis to the rally, the chair of the Movement for New Elections, Yigal Goren, called the rally "a united front of people of all walks of life, religious believers and secular Israelis, women and men, activists of almost all parties from right and left, simple non-affiliated people or neutral in political affairs. Goren said the protesters had who had one common aim - "to remove Netanyahu, to show their resistance to the horrible war adventures he and his buddies are leading us into, and to demand urgently that new elections be held."
The former President of the Supreme Court of Justice Haim Cohen said in videotaped remarks, "In my worst nightmares, I could not imagine witnessing at my advanced age such a dilapidation of morality in an Israeli government, as has come to the fore now. It imperils Israel's very existence."
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