Israel: Arrests made in clashes with police as thousands protest govt COVID response

Thousands turned out to protests in Tel Aviv Saturday night over the Israeli government's economic management of the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in at least 19 arrests after skirmishes ensued. The protesters gathered in the city's Rabin Square, demonstrating against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz's lack of action in stimulating the country's economy, which has been damaged from shutdowns and halted tourism. Many voiced the desire for direct assistance to business owners that have been forced to cease their operations amid the pandemic. «We need solutions. A lot of people are talking but none are actually doing what they are promising. We need money. I am from the tourism world and the tourism world in Israel is crashing because we don't have funds,» said Aviv, a local business owner. «We came to protest against the Israeli government that closed all our business, and I had to fire all my workers and we don't get any money from the Israeli government,» said Tiki, another business owner. With unemployment standing at over 20 per cent, the government has approved a plan that will continue unemployment benefits until the number is below 10 per cent, but will wait until Sunday for final approval by the Knesset. Israel had planned to resume commercial flights beginning August 1, initially with nearby Greece and Cyprus, but has since suggested this will be further delayed.
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