Protesters in Tel Aviv show their anger at Netanyahu and the Israeli government

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators filled a central Tel Aviv thoroughfare on Saturday, the same street that had inflamed the nation before the start of the Israel-Hamas war, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu venting his biggest anger in months.

According to Israeli officials, the nation was in shock and anti-government protests were suspended after Hamas-led attacks on October 7 killed around 1,200 people. Protesters said at the time that they felt the need to be united as a nation, and many demonstrators were called into the military reserves or volunteered to help the war effort.

But now that the war has passed four months, protests against the government are gaining strength. On Saturday, calls for snap elections rang out above the deafening blare of air horns. A red flame was lit in the middle of the drum circle, which beat the marching tunes. Flag-carrying demonstrators glared at half a dozen police officers on horseback.

“The people have to rise up, the government has to go,” said 57-year-old Yuval Lerner. Mr. Referring to Netanyahu's right-wing ruling coalition. Even before the war, he said, he had lost faith that the government had the nation's interests at heart.

Large anti-government demonstrations against plans to weaken the country's judiciary were once a regular occurrence in Israel before the outbreak of war. Later, tens of thousands of protesters gathered on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, the same street where Saturday night's protest took place.

Wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Deposition Now,” Karen Sarr, 50, said the return to Kaplan Street was symbolic. “It's the Kaplan protests,” he said, repeating a phrase used locally. “We have returned the resistance movement to where it was before the tragedy and the war.”

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Mr. The protests against Netanyahu and the government diverged from the divisive public debate over the course of action in Gaza over hostages taken by Hamas and other groups on October 7. There are more than 130 hostages in the enclave, including at least Israeli security services say 30 people may have died. Demonstrations are also ongoing demanding that the government give priority to their release.

On Saturday, a government protester said he felt the time was right to return to the streets. Shahar Danziger, 45, carried the flag for Brothers in Arms, a grassroots organization made up of Israeli soldiers and displaced people to help victims of the war. Some of his colleagues worked as placeholders.

At first “we set out to help in wartime,” he said. “But now is the time to prove.”

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