Thousands protest in Israel demanding ouster of PM Netanyahu News
© JURIST / John-Michael Graves
Thousands protest in Israel demanding ouster of PM Netanyahu

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in Jerusalem against the government over the weekend and into Monday.

The demonstrators are demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resign after viewing him as the roadblock in returning the over 100 hostages that were taken during the October 7 Hamas attack last year. They also seek accountability for the security breach that allowed the attack. For nearly six months, the longest war since the state’s creation, Netanyahu’s handling of the war has been criticized. Many Israelis are frustrated with soldiers losing their lives and are concerned about their army reserves running low.

Now, a draft bill calls into question the exemptions given to orthodox Jews from enlisting in the army or requiring their conscription. The bill has put many supporters of the right-wing Israeli party, Likud, in limbo. However, many Israelis resent the exemption given to the ultra-orthodox and politically powerful group, the Haredim, and view the exemptions as unfair and burdensome on those who are drafted into the Israeli army. The exemption for the Haredim was lifted yesterday but will likely not take immediate effect. The time men and women are drafted into the IDF will also be extended to three years, and the age limits will be raised from 40 to 45 and up to 52 in some cases. This is in response to those in combat who cannot return to fight after injury or losing their lives.

Even before the October 7 attacks, Netanyahu faced corruption charges that he had been trying to delay during the war against Hamas. In the meantime, calls for a ceasefire continue as the death toll of Palestinian civilians continues, with Gaza now experiencing a famine.