Israel Sees Largest Anti-Government Protest Since Oct. 7 Attack

  • Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday to start a four-day demonstration against the government, marking the largest protest in the country since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack. Times of Israel
  • The demonstrations come as the unity following Hamas' attack seemingly erodes after nearly six months of war, with opposition leader Yair Lapid energetically criticizing the government while speaking at the rally. CNN
  • On Monday, demonstrators pitched hundreds of tents outside the parliament building, as they called for early elections and renewed efforts to bring hostages held in Gaza back to Israel. New York Times (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reasserted in a televised speech on Sunday that he would do anything to secure the hostages' release but claimed that new elections would paralyze the country and hostage negotiations for six to eight months. PBS NewsHour (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • Over 100 hostages were freed in November, but another hundred remain in Gaza, though it is unclear how many are still alive. Negotiations have repeatedly stalled, with the presence of Israeli forces in Gaza being one of the primary sticking points. Jerusalem Post (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • Polls consistently indicate that the ruling coalition, which faces a concurrent political crisis over plans to draft young ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the military, has lost ground and would unlikely remain in power in the event of a new election. Wall Street Journal

Right narrative:

  • While some Israelis have rallied in good faith to demonstrate the need for an immediate solution to bring the hostages back home, it's outrageous that the opposition is now cynically using the hostage situation as a pretext to oust Netanyahu. In a short-sighted attempt to achieve short-term political goals, these anti-Netanyahu protests effectively undermine the Israeli negotiating position in talks with Hamas.

Left narrative:

  • Netanyahu failed to prevent Hamas' Oct. 7 massacre and his military strategy has failed to effectively return the hostages. Though Israel is fighting its weakest enemy ever — a besieged militant group of a few thousand fighters — the government has managed to conduct the country's most unsuccessful military campaign. Now, Israel has been left isolated and soon to be bankrupt. Netanyahu must go as soon as possible.

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 40% chance that Benjamin Netanyahu will remain Prime Minister of Israel throughout 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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