Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gesture after delivering joint statements in Jerusalem June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTX39AGA

Hundreds attend rally in support of PM Netanyahu amid police investigation

Hundreds of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters rallied in Tel Aviv in show of their unwavering support for the Israeli leader amid an ongoing police investigation against Netanyahu for ‘corruption’ and ‘breach of trust’ allegations. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who attended the rally, lashed out at Israel’s political left-wing and the media for what he termed as ‘an obsessive witch-hunt against him and his family,’ with an aspired aim of overthrowing him and his right-wing government. Netanyahu said “Both the left-wing (opposition) and the media, who are one and the same, know this, they are enlisting now in an obsessive, unprecedented hunt against me and my family, aiming to oust the government,” he warned.

In his 11 years of office, the conservative Netanyahu, who last won Israel’s general election in 2015, has weathered several scandals and police inquiries. Nevertheless, his approval ratings are generally solid, putting him ahead of potential challengers. Because of Netanyahu’s solid approval rates, the Prime Minister has accused his political opponents and the media of applying unacceptable and unjustified pressure on the law enforcement authorities to file a completely unjustified indictment against him; with the aspiration of replacing him through judicial proceedings, rather than a democratic process. “The media and the left, which serves it, find it hard to accept so they contrive endless scandals, endless reports and endless headlines so that maybe, maybe something will stick, if not submarines then cigars, if not cigars then conversations with a publisher, if not case 1000 and case 2000, if not 2000 then 3000, 4000, 5000, they demand from the law-enforcement authorities: ‘give us something, doesn’t matter what’,” Netanyahu told his supporters. The Israeli Prime Minister also pointed to his followers that the Palestinian leadership are so-called “yearning for his downfall,” as they know that he would never withdraw to their aspired 1967 lines, effectively establishing a Palestinian state on the outskirts of Israel’s center, a reality the Prime Minister declared ‘would never happen.’ “We heard the day before yesterday that senior Palestinian officials, and I quote: “Are yearning to Netanyahu’s downfall because of the investigations”, it is clear because they also want Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines and establish a Palestinian state on the outskirts of (Israeli city) kfar Saba. My friends, they too will be disappointed, because it won’t happen,” Netanyahu declared.

The Israeli public seems to be split regarding the police investigations against the Prime Minister, with Netanyahu’s opponents hoping that the corruption cases would stick so a regime change would ensue; while most of the people that were asked on the streets of Jerusalem voicing their unwavering support for Netanyahu, who is perceived as the leader that can protect Israel at a time of regional chaos. Two Israeli girls that refused to be named said ; “We just hope that they will catch him on something, some fraud, some… finally catch him, and the government in Israel will change finally because it has been too long that Bibi is prime minister and it’s time for something new, we want peace.” Most of the people that were asked on the streets of Jerusalem, however, voiced support for the Israeli leader. One man said “I think Netanyahu is a great leader for Israel, I think he represents us very well abroad, I think all the stories that you hear about him, he’s not, I mean he’s not guilty so I trust him, I trust him with the security of the country and I’m happy about it,” Daniel Silver said, while an elderly woman stressed that Netanyahu is the ” best that can happen today, especially in the days like today. I always voted for him from 1996, and I can’t imagine anybody who I see around who can do today a better job than he does,” Yanyena asserted.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s main political rival, Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbai commented on the Prime Minister’s speech and said that the people of Israel saw a Prime Minister who lacks confidence and who attacks the police, whose commissioner he personally appointed. Gabbai went on to say that Netanyahu has always claimed that the people were with him so the time had come to test his claims with new general elections as soon as possible.