Dramatic, socially distanced protests against Israel’s government deal continue in Tel Aviv

Israelis wearing protective masks and dressed mainly in black take part in a demonstration on April 25, 2020, in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest what they consider threats to Israeli democracy. They stood 2 meters apart because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images) 

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least 2,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv for a socially distanced demonstration Saturday night to protest last week’s coalition deal to form an emergency unity government.

The so-called “black flag” demonstration on Saturday night in Rabin Square adhered to social distancing regulations, with the demonstrators standing in orderly lines some 6 feet apart. Aerial photos from a similar demonstration last week generated international coverage.

Waving black flags alongside Israeli flags, demonstrators protested the agreement that leaves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power even though he will go on trial next month on corruption charges in three different cases. They believe the deal gives Netanyahu too much control over judicial appointments.

Protest organizer Shikma Schwartzman accused Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for “trampling over Israel’s Basic Laws” in joining Netanyahu in what protesters see as a lopsided deal.