‘Putin is a fascist’: Hundreds of protesters march for Ukraine in Tel Aviv
Demonstrators chant ‘Israel, make your voice heard!’ and ‘Stop the war in Ukraine’ outside Russian embassy as Bennett meets with Russian leader in Moscow
Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.
Hundreds of people marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to support Ukraine and protest against the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.
Protesters gathered at city’s Habima Square and marched to the Russian embassy, chanting slogans that included: “Israel, make your voice heard!,” “Putin is a fascist” and “Stop the war in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, about a hundred protesters also gathered outside Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s private residence in Ra’anana.
“We’ve come here to support the Ukrainian people,” two protesters originally from Georgia told Walla News.
“We’ve experienced war with Russia so we can relate. We do what we can,” they said.
“I’m from Russia and I’m against this war and Putin. This is the only thing we can do to try and stop the war,” another protester said.
Some protesters were seen holding signs with caricatures comparing the Russian leader to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, a comparison that has become popular among demonstrators around the world since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
Others were seen holding signs with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.
The Hitler comparison has also been made in the past by the official Twitter account of Ukraine that posted a caricature image of Putin staring in admiration into the eyes of an oversized Hitler shortly after Russian troops invaded the country.
While Israel avoided taking a clear stand against Russia officially, the Israeli public has expressed a mainly united front against the war and the Russian president, with similar pro-Ukraine protests taking place regularly since the invasion.
The largest gathering took place last Saturday when thousands marched to the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv.
One week later, the Russian invasion is still ongoing with no end in sight.
As protesters were protesting outside his home, the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was holding talks with Putin at the Kremlin, a secret trip that was seen as an effort to further develop a potential role as mediator between the sides — as Israel has good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow.
Bennett also spoke twice throughout the evening with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his meeting with Putin. He also flew to Germany to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and had a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.