Protests demanding that Prime Minister Netanyahu resign over several corruption indictments and his handling of the novel coronavirus crisis have been mounting in recent weeks.
Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Israel late demanding the departure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted for corruption.
In Jerusalem, thousands rallied outside the prime minister's official residence, while hundreds more protested in Caesarea, where Netanyahu has a private home, and in other parts of Israel.
Protests demanding that Netanyahu resign over several corruption indictments and his handling of the novel coronavirus crisis have been mounting in recent weeks.
They usually take place on Saturdays after Shabbat and despite concerns over crowds gathering as the country faces a spike in virus cases.
Ya'ara Peretz braved a heatwave in Jerusalem to rally, saying that the protest movement reflects that many Israelis are fed up with Netanyahu.
"Protesters share a common point, they want a deep change in the (political) system," she said.
Coronavirus infections spike
Israel won praise for its initial response to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the government has come under criticism amid a resurgence in cases after restrictions were lifted starting in late April.
Netanyahu has himself acknowledged that the economy was reopened too quickly.
On Thursday, Israel announced a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world's highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000.
The government’s missteps in handling the coronavirus crisis after relative success in its early stages have mostly fuelled the summer-long weekend demonstrations.
The death toll has surpassed 1,000 and the country is mulling a new lockdown to stop the rapid spike in daily infections. Israel currently has over 26,000 active Covid-19 patients.
Police have clashed with protesters on several occasions and used water cannons to clear them off main streets and squares, though in recent weeks the gatherings have been calmer but larger.
On Friday, a police spokesman said they had arrested a man who was “dressed up as a woman in a provocative way.” An Associated Press photogra pher saw police arresting at least five people.
Netanyahu’s achievements on the external foreign policy do not seem to stand by his side at home.
On Friday, Serbia and Kosovo gave Israel a diplomatic boost as Serbia announced it will move its embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo said it will establish ties with Israel with an embassy in Jerusalem. On Saturday, Netanyahu praised the US-brokered deal, noting that Serbia is the first European country and Kosovo is the first Muslim majority country to have embassies in contested Jerusalem. The Palestinians want the city's eastern part for a future capital.
The announcements by Serbia and Kosovo came about three weeks after the US brokered a deal to establish and normalise ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Netanyahu has vowed to remain in office despite being charged last year with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three long-running corruption investigations. He has denied the allegations, calling them a “witch hunt” and lashing out at the judiciary, law enforcement and media.