Jerusalem, Jan 16 (Agencies): More than 15,000 Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv to protest against "anti-Democratic trends" in Parliament after it decided to set up a committee to probe the funding sources of Leftist groups, which were labelled as "terror-aiders" by right-wingers backed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Left-wingers and human rights activists took out a protest march on Saturday from Tel Aviv's Meir Park to the plaza in front of the Museum of Art, where a demonstration was held in which Knesset members or MPs from Kadima, Meretz and Hadash parties, as well as officials from Leftist groups, addressed the crowd.

Organisers said more than 15,000 were in attendance and protested against "anti-Democratic trends in Knesset", local media reported.

Under the banner "Demonstration (since it's still possible) for democracy", protesters shouted slogans in support of free speech.

Left-wing organisation Peace Now's Director General, Yariv Oppenheimer, said that "the Lieberman threat" is more serious than the Iranian threat.

"The Lieberman threat should worry us all. It is a greater threat than Iran. We must go out and protest," said Oppenheimer.

Peace Now has been actively protesting against the Government's settlement activities in the West Bank and from time to time released condemning statistics contrary to the State's position.
The executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hagai Elad, urged people to fight for their democratic rights.

Right wing factions criticised the demonstration saying the protesters were "fighting for the democracy of foreign countries and not of Israel," and said that they are carrying out the protest solely for money.

The initiative, brought forth by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu faction, called primarily to investigate the sources of funding for these groups.

Meanwhile, a Channel 2 report said that the panel will look into the funding sources of all organisations, and not just left-wing, in the wake of criticism.