Fact Check

Viral Video Shows Anti-Netanyahu Protest After Hamas Took Hostages?

Israelis have protested Netanyahu’s government on many different occasions.

Published Oct 17, 2023

 (Screenshot via Twitter)
Image Via Screenshot via Twitter
A video accurately shows the scale of protests in Israel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after hostages were taken by Hamas in October 2023.

The video in question comprises footage of two separate protests against Netanyahu, one from March 2023 featuring crowds numbering in the thousands, and another from October 2023 taken as a close-up within a different crowd. Only the latter video is relevant to protests against the Israeli government’s handling of the hostage crisis in which around 200 people were taken by Hamas militants.

On Oct. 15, 2023, a viral video claimed to show protests in Israel against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, criticizing his handling of a hostage crisis in which Hamas militants took some 200 people from the country. The video caption stated: “Look West Media Hypocrisy...! In Israel, there is a big protest happening where people want their leader Benjamin Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, to step down. The media might not be showing you this, but it's a significant event.”

The first segment of the video shows a crowd likely numbering in the hundreds of thousands surrounding an Israeli flag in Tel Aviv, while the second part cuts to a journalist surrounded by a smaller number of protesters chanting “Bibi is a murderer.”

But the video comprises footage of two unrelated protests against Netanyahu, one in March 2023, and the other in October 2023. Only the latter video is relevant to the hostage crisis.

The first few seconds of the video, likely shot via drone cameras, shows a massive crowd filling up the streets. An Israeli flag is visible in the middle of the shot. That footage was taken at a protest in March 2023, at which organizers estimated around half a million people were in attendance, according to The Telegraph. The footage was taken from a Telegraph YouTube video of the March protest, and is visible around ten seconds into the clip below:

The March protests were in response to the government’s controversial plan to overhaul the judiciary. The proposed legislation would give Israel’s parliament the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority and the power to appoint judges, among other changes. In July, the government passed the first reform, removing the power of the Supreme Court and lower courts to cancel government decisions considered "extremely unreasonable." Protesters said such changes weaken the judiciary and called for Netanyahu’s resignation.

The second protest seen in the video is relevant to the October crisis. It is taken from an Oct. 14, 2023, ABC News clip titled “On the ground in Tel Aviv with protestors.” The exact moment can be seen at the six-minute mark:

Reporter Matt Gutman conveys what protesters are chanting behind him: “Bibi [Netanyahu] is a murderer.” He pointed out that many protests against Netanyahu had taken place in the same part of Tel Aviv for years.

“People are blaming [Netanyahu] for getting into this mess. For thinking about his own political situation for the past number of years and not about protecting the citizens of the south of this country, not about increasing security, and not thinking about dealing with Hamas in any other way than just allowing them to exist and then bombing them every once in a while. There has been no strategic plan [...]” Guttman said.

The 2023 conflict began on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, as of this writing. At least 200 known Israelis were taken by Hamas militants in that attack and remain in captivity, as of this writing. Experts, according to The New York Times, believe the hostages are being held in underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

Israel subsequently declared war and attacked and blockaded Gaza, actions that resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians, as of this writing, and a humanitarian crisis. Hamas' attacks came after months of surges in violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military.


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Gettleman, Jeffrey, and Tamir Kalifa. “For Hostages’ Families, an ‘Endless Loop of Hope and Despair.’” The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/16/world/asia/israel-hostages-families-hamas-gaza.html. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

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"Israel’s “biggest Ever” Protests as Netanyahu Govt Persists with Reforms." The Telegraph, March 12, 2023. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLx88I6Dlac. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

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"On the Ground in Tel Aviv with Protestors." ABC News, Oct. 14, 2023. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzOEK5JN0so. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

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Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.