As Thousands Protest in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu Dismisses Calls for Early Elections


JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday dismissed the idea of holding early elections, while thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv for an anti-government protest.

Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet in opinion polls since Hamas’ October 7 terror attack that sparked the devastating Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Anti-government protests that shook the country for much of 2023 have largely subsided during the war. Still, demonstrators again took to the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday night calling for new elections, which are not scheduled until 2026.

The crowd was much smaller than last year’s mass protests, numbering a few thousand, according to local media.

“I’d like to say to the government that you’ve had your time, you ruined everything that you can ruin. Now is the time for the people to correct all the things, all the bad things that you’ve done,” said one protestor, his head wrapped in an Israeli flag.

Netanyahu was asked at a press briefing about calls within his own ruling Likud party to hold early elections right when the Israel-Hamas war ends.

“The last thing we need right now are elections and dealing with elections, since it will immediately divide us,” he said. “We need unity right now.__VOA News