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Israeli Lockdown ends with massive anti-Netanyahu protests

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Israeli Lockdown ends with massive anti-Netanyahu protests

Screen Shot 2020 10 23 at 2 42 39 PM
Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are expected in Israel today after movement restrictions were lifted on Wednesday.

Netanyahu and his administration have come under intense scrutiny due to the prime minister’s ongoing corruption trial and public anger over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spotlight was cast on social tensions when a second country-wide lockdown exacerbated COVID-19’s unequal economic impact on the elite and the working class. Netanyahu appeared to be reining in recent protests, which called for his resignation, by implementing limitations on social gatherings during the lockdown.

Israel has been one of the hardest hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the success of restrictions in reducing the infection rate, mass protests may reverse this trend. A resurgence of cases will postpone the health ministry’s next stage of reopening Israel, which requires a daily infection rate below 1,000. Protesters will likely continue to call for Netanyahu’s resignation, since they view the second lockdown and restriction of movement as a deeply authoritarian policy.

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