Thousands rally at anti-Netanyahu protest ahead of election that could see his exit

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Thousands of Israelis rallied outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence on Saturday to call for his resignation, days before a general election that could see the long-standing leader removed from power.

First launched in June last year, the vocal and colorful demonstrations against Netanyahu have gained momentum over the past 38 weeks, with Saturday night’s rally due to be the largest in recent months.

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Netanyahu, in power for a record 12 consecutive years, is hoping to remain in office following Israel’s fourth election in less than two years on March 23.

Netanyahu, 71, was the first Israeli premier to be indicted in office for corruption when he was formally charged last year in three cases over claims he accepted improper gifts and sought to trade regulatory favor with media moguls in exchange for positive coverage.

The combative premier denies wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a witch-hunt, but he would be forced to resign if convicted with all appeals exhausted.

Police warned Jerusalem residents to keep away from the site of the Saturday demonstration and the route of the march leading up to it.

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