Israelis united in opposition to Olmert

A massive demonstration took place on the streets of Tel Aviv against unpopular Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert last night.

Mr Olmert, leading of the Kadima party, has faced sustained criticism in recent days since the publication of a report investigating decision-making during last summer's conflict with Lebanese militant group Hizbullah.

The inquiry found "serious failures" and has singled out Mr Olmert, defence minister Amir Peretz and already-quit chief of staff Dan Halutz for special criticism.

Up to 150,000 protesters were reported on Rabin Square in Tel Aviv yesterday evening from all political wings. Both sacred and secular groups are represented in the protest, reflecting the depth of unpopularity Mr Olmert is currently suffering.

Earlier in the day the Kadima party leader was forced to listen to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu call for his resignation during a session of Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

Mr Olmert survived without a vote of no confidence being called, one day after his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, called for him to step down.

Disenchantment with the 61-year-old is closely linked to a popular perception within Israel that the Middle Eastern country 'lost' last year's conflict. Israel failed in its two main war aims - to end Hizbullah's rocket attacks and recover the two kidnapped soldiers whose abduction caused the opening of hostilities.

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