Several thousand Israelis gathered at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Street on Saturday for the third consecutive demonstration against the Netanyahu government's alleged corruption, seen by the right as an attempt to bring down an elected government by non-democratic means as there have been no indictments of the Prime Minister.
Demonstrators carried signs, chanted "Bibi is an embarrassment" and called on Netanyahu to resign over the multiple police investigations into his affairs. The featured speaker was Orot Shaul Hesder Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, a prominent Religious Zionist rabbi whose attendance at the left wing rally had raised eyebrows.
Cherlow's decision to attend the left wing rally in which religious and right wing Israelis are often demonized and where BDS supporters held signs in support of boycotting Israel, was controversial. Cherlow was harshly criticized on social media, where it was alleged that he was damaging the Religious Zionist community.
"This is a political rally, and you're harming the entire right-wing," fumed one writer on Cherlow's Facebook page. Another wrote that "Rabbi Cherlow would never demonstrate for the residents of South Tel Aviv - these demonstrations aren't broadcast on every television channel. He would prefer to join the spoiled children on Rothschild Street."
Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu reminded the public on Radio Galei Yisrael and on Facebook that Rabbi Cherlow forbade his students to participate in demonstrations against the destruction of Amona.
Cherlow told the assembled that corruption was a strategic threat to the State of Israel. "We are in danger of losing confidence in our decision makers," he said. "If we need an economic plan, how will we know that it is for the good of the people? What about going to war?" he asked.
Cherlow came out against the “Recommendations Law”, which would prohibit the police from making recommendations for and against prosecution at the end of an investigation. "There is nothing more dangerous to ethics and integrity than manipulations and the use of the fight against corruption for other purposes," he said, adding that "if you want to cross lines and unite all the citizens of Israel, you must fight corruption."
However, Cherlow also warned against a "lynch atmosphere" where politicians are judged by the public as guilty which out any evidence. Rebuking some attendees, Cherlow alleged that "when I came here an hour ago, there were slogans here that should not be said".