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Tens of thousands of Israelis rally against Netanyahu’s government

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Tens of thousands of Israelis again took to the streets on Sunday, protesting against the right-wing religious government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During angry protests near parliament in Jerusalem, demonstrators called for the government to resign and urged a fresh election and a quick deal to release the hostages held by the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid sharply criticized Netanyahu at the demonstration.

He charged that Netanyahu was destroying Israel’s relations with the USA and leaving the Hamas hostages to their fate.

The prime minister was doing “everything for politics, nothing for the country,” Lapid charged.

Netanyahu firmly rejected criticism of his conduct of the negotiations and calls for a new election. “Calls for an election now, at the height of the war, a moment before victory, will paralyze Israel for at least six months, in my estimation even eight months,” he said on Sunday.

A new election would also paralyze negotiations over the release of more hostages in return for a ceasefire in the Gaza war and the release of Palestinian prisoners, Netanyahu said. This would “bring about an end to the war before the goals are achieved” and thus play into the hands of Hamas in particular.

The Israeli prime minister emphasized that he was obliged to bring all hostages home. “I won’t leave anyone behind.”

In the brutal attack by Hamas and other extremist groups from the Gaza Strip on October 7, terrorists kidnapped more than 250 people from Israel to the coastal area. Just over 100 hostages were released as part of a deal in November.

According to Israeli estimates, almost 100 people abducted by Hamas are still alive.

People take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Nir Alon/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

People take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Nir Alon/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

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