'Jail now': Israelis protest outside PM Netanyahu's house as anger grows

Netanyahu has so far not accepted personal responsibility for the failures that allowed the surprise assault by Hamas

By Reuters

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Israeli demonstrators hold signs and flags during an anti-government protest in Jerusalem on November 4, 2023. AFP
Israeli demonstrators hold signs and flags during an anti-government protest in Jerusalem on November 4, 2023. AFP

Published: Sun 5 Nov 2023, 9:07 PM

Police held back protesters demonstrating outside the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, amid widespread anger at the failures that led to last month's deadly attack by Hamas gunmen on communities around the Gaza Strip.

Waving blue and white Israeli flags and chanting "Jail now!", a crowd in the hundreds pushed through police barriers around Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem.

The protest, which coincided with a poll showing more than three quarters of Israelis believe Netanyahu should resign, underlined the growing public fury at their political and security leaders.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Netanyahu has so far not accepted personal responsibility for the failures that allowed the surprise assault which saw hundreds of Hamas gunmen storm into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,400 people and taking at least 240 hostage.

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As the initial shock has faded, public anger has grown, with many families of the hostages held in Gaza bitterly critical of the government response and calling for their relatives to be brought home.

In Tel Aviv, thousands demonstrated, waving flags and holding photographs of some of the captives in Gaza and posters with slogans like "Release the hostages now at all costs".

Since the attack, Israel has launched an intense air and ground offensive in Gaza, killing more than 9,000 people, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run area and reducing large areas of the enclave to rubble.

Even before the war, Netanyahu had been a divisive figure, fighting corruption charges, which he denies, and pushing through a plan to curb the powers of the judiciary that brought hundreds of thousands to the streets to protest.

On Saturday, a poll for Israel's Channel 13 Television found 76 per cent of Israelis thought Netanyahu, now serving a record sixth term as prime minister, should resign and 64 per cent saying the country should hold an election immediately after the war.

When asked who is most at fault for the attack, 44 per cent of Israeli blamed Netanyahu, while 33 per cent blamed the military chief of staff and senior IDF officials and 5 per cent blamed the Defense Minister, according to the poll.

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