At rally, Lapid accuses Netanyahu of trying to distance himself from Oct. 7 by stalling for time

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid attends a protest calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip and against the current Israeli government outside the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid attends a protest calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip and against the current Israeli government outside the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Addressing thousands at an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv — said to be the largest since October 7 — Opposition Leader Yair Lapid accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of passing discriminatory laws and “stalling so people forget he’s guilty and responsible” for the Hamas terror onslaught in southern Israel.

When four Givati soldiers were killed last Monday, the Knesset was preparing to vote on renewing the legislative process for a controversial ultra-Orthodox enlistment bill, Lapid says.

“The whole Knesset already knew,” he says. “We were all in a bad mood, depressed, and then we looked up and saw that there was one person who didn’t feel that way. We saw the smile.

“Netanyahu was standing there, with a huge smile, pleased, condescending, blasé. He already knew — we all already knew — that Tal, Eitan, Almog and Yair were killed in Rafah, and he smiled. Five more were seriously injured, and he was smiling.”

“What was he smiling about? That as soldiers were being killed, he passed a law discriminating between the blood of some and of others. A law that tears the country apart even more,” Lapid continues.

Netanyahu “wants to stall, put some more distance between him and October 7 so maybe someone will forget that he’s guilty and responsible for the worst day in the history of Israel,” he adds.

In addition to Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv and Moria Avenue in Haifa, which was blocked by police to facilitate the demonstration, protesters without the correct permits also blocked multiple traffic arteries intermittently Saturday, including Amiad Junction in Israel’s north and Route Four.

Several people are detained at those and other locales for disrupting traffic, according to protest organizers, via their WhatsApp groups.

They also say the turnout on Kaplan Street, which drone images show is packed by masses of people, is the largest to date since October 7.

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