Thousands of Israelis Protest in Tel Aviv as Corruption Allegations Leveled at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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Israelis take part in a "March of Shame" demonstration in Tel Aviv to protest government corruption and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on December 9. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on Saturday for the second consecutive week against government corruption and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was under criminal investigation over allegations of abuse of office. 

Police estimated the number of demonstrators at about 10,000. The protest followed last Saturday’s demonstration, by far the largest of ongoing weekly anticorruption protests, when an estimated 20,000 people participated. 

The protests were sparked by corruption allegations against Netanyahu, who denied any wrongdoing. The four-term leader was suspected of involvement in two cases. 

The first involved receiving gifts from wealthy businessmen, and the second involved negotiating a deal with a newspaper owner for better coverage in return for curbs on a rival daily. 

If charged, Netanyahu would be pressured to resign. He could also call an election to test whether he still had a mandate to govern. 

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party said in a Facebook post that the protest was a left-wing demonstration. It called on all Israelis to back their prime minister as he defended Israel from international criticism following U.S. President Donald Trump’s acceptance of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

“Instead of uniting with all the people behind Jerusalem and showing the world a unified front, the left cannot contain itself and it prefers to create division,” part of the statement said. 

Protesters identified themselves as supporting both left- and right-wing parties. On Saturday they held banners reading, “Neither left, nor right - straight,” “We are fed up with corrupt [politicians]” and “Sweep the corrupt away.”