Thousands mass at PM’s residence as major protests resume after restrictions

Demonstration is first major rally since rules banning travel for protests expired Tuesday, with large crowds in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and around country

Anti-government activists streamed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem for the first time in weeks Saturday night, as regular protests looked to resume following a clampdown during Israel’s nationwide virus lockdown.

Media reports put the crowd size at Paris Square in the thousands, and organizers claimed over 15,000 attendees as of 9 p.m.

Demonstrators waved pink banners and Israeli flags, chanting slogans against the prime minister and blowing on vuvuzelas.

“Sheheyanu!” said demonstrator Meir Moscovitch, invoking a Hebrew prayer for auspicious occasions. “We were away for three weeks and now we’re back to call for honesty — not left, not right, honest.”

While police barricades were allowing demonstrators ample space to socially distance, most were tightly clustered close to Balfour Street near Paris Square.

A second anti-corruption protest at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square also drew large crowds.