300,000 March in Israel; Calls For Social Justice, Lower Living Costs (video)

An estimated 300,000 took to the streets in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other towns and cities across Israel on Saturday and called for social justice and lower living costs. Middle-income Israelis are demanding that the government address their needs for for affordable housing, fuel, food, electricity and childcare.

Benyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has been forced to respond to the wide-scale protests and called for the creation of a committee of senior officials to “listen to the distress” and suggest action. Last month, he had announced a series of measures to address the housing shortage; protesters have labelled these insufficient. The Guardian notes that, according to some observers, he may try to wait out the protests until September, when the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations will very likely “dominate the political agenda.” While the Palestinians are Netanyahu’s “familiar foe,” the Israeli social justice protesters are seen as an “unknown force.”

Israel has low unemployment and “relatively healthy economic growth.” But food prices have increased almost 13 percent since 2005, says the Guardian, with many spending more than half their income on rent or mortgages, while wealth and corporate power are highly concentrated in the hands of a few. Israelis also live with high rates of taxation even as social services are decreasing and the gap between rich and poor is growing, says the New York Times:

Ayelet Kol, a 37-year-old graphic designer in Tel Aviv, said she has been fighting a losing battle to get by financially even though she downsized into a one-room studio apartment, canceled her gym membership and cable subscription and has entirely cut out meeting friends at restaurants.

“Until now most people thought it was their fault that they could not get by,” she said, “but now they are realizing it’s hard for everyone and that they are not alone.”

What began as a few tents pitched in Tel Aviv has become a movement in 40 locations across Israel with daily demonstrations and roadblocks. Activists are planning to have a million marching in 50 different different cities next month.

The video shows a group of single mothers leading a protest Sunday morning (August 7) in front of the Jerusalem office of Amidar, one of Israel’s public housing companies. The women have been living in tents in a park nearby for over two weeks to protest the high cost of housing.

Tamar Hermann, of the Israel Democracy Institute, says that the protests are some of the largest ever in Israel and commented especially on their “heterogeneous nature,” with young people, retirees and families are all marching. She describes Israelis as “not devastated but discontented” and notes that analogies can be “drawn between the Arab spring and the Israeli summer”:

“Israelis generally want to disassociate themselves from the Middle East, culturally, politically and economically. But obviously they have watched Tahrir Square as well as events in Spain and Athens.

“Protest is a phenomenon which often spills over national borders. This fits into a new wave of street protests that we are now seeing all over the world, including the Middle East.”

In the Jerusalem Post, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the protesters’ grievances were legitimate, but warned against moving away funding from the defense sector to housing and social programs.


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Photo taken July 31 in Tel Aviv by boellstiftung


Janice S.
Janice S7 years ago

Sounds like Isreal is having some of the same problems as the US. There are so many problems in the world --and many could be overcome--- if people swould work more toward the betterment of all instead of being greedy and just trying to aqire more ofor themselves. God bless all who are trying to help thoses less fortunate.

Tom Y.
Tom Y7 years ago

All that energy, wasted on the streets. It's a poor second to the actions that would demonstrate a real sense of community: can't the activists take in at least some of the homeless and house them directly? Take a direct hand in the next steps toward improving their lives, like participating in a Habitat for Humanity-style home-building project? Developing those interpersonal connections into a community that lasts? Demanding the government cough up some short-term action is really not helpful in the long run.

Instead of demanding resources... develop them!

Peter Goy
Peter Nauts7 years ago

@Siusaidh C. forget Beth SS, she is just acting like a psy op intel agent trying to blackmail criticizers of israel!! Cheers!

Stay awake!!

Peter Goy
Peter Nauts7 years ago

For Beth SS and Siusaidh C.

AGAIN ,STOP POSTING CRAP ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE HOLOHAUX.....The moral blackmailing by the so called jews is over, the so called "jewish" suffering and pain has no credentials on this planet.

It worked for 50 years but people actually start to wake up and see the truth .

Jews slaughtered the Canaanites and invaded Canaan (Mozes, go! go! go! ) and called it suddenly their homeland again. It became Palestine for more than 1400 years , a majority of Muslims lived peacefully aside jews and about 60 years ago the fake ashkenazi zionist jews want the world again to believe the so called jews are entitled to a country which the jews illegally invaded about 2100 years ago .

If you are a jew you are a follower of the judean hloyscripts and the holyscripts clearly state that jews must obey the Oaths. Break the Oaths and you get god's wrath on your neck. a jewish state before the arrival of the Messioch is blasphemy. Here goes the religious claim down the drain. The unilateral proclamation of the (illegal jewish)state by the British zionists is also down the drain, not a single Palestine agreed on this, thus the proclamation was not more then a vulgair abuse of power by the zionists Brits.

a JEW does NOT belong to the JEWISH race, it is a religion. No matter how hard you fake-zionist-ashkenazi jews are trying to twist and turn history facts or biological facts , Judaism is a religion , jews are NOT a race.

REAL jews oppose th

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

There is so much I want to say to the people hear who know nothing about Israel or the region but think they do, but it would be like taling to a wall.

Israel is having a hard time thanks to Netanyahu. Get rid of him and they will make progress with peace and in their internal affairs.

Blaise G.
Blaise G7 years ago

I feel bad for Israelis who were born there. They don't know any different about how Israel got to BE Israel. I'm talking about the modern Israel...the one that developed AFTER the illegal invasion of British and American Zionists (Jewish, Christian [if you can call them Christian], and non-religious corporatados [oil & diamonds]) who invaded a region that was already living peacefully as a mixed religious contingent of human beings...Jews, Muslims and Christians before the Zionists came in to "Take What Is Rightfully Theirs!". Ask any of the ORIGINAL families of Jews, Muslims and Christians who have been living in Palestine/(Israel?) for dozens upon dozens of generations. THEY will tell you how it really was and how it really is now. I'm sorry that Israelis are suffering there, but you know what, people are suffering all over the planet. If you or your family are not originally FROM Israel...then you really ought to seriously think about returning to your country of origin...because unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your bloodline comes directly from Palestine originally as far back as two to five thousand years ago, then you have NO claim or right to reside there. Go home...wherever that is. If it's here in the U.S., then come back home. Stop causing more strife and stress on a part of the planet that cannot handle such idiocy.

Blaise G.
Blaise G7 years ago

Look, Israel doesn't have any more of a democracy than we do here in the United States of Central North America. Democracy is limited by the Elite who control the Main-Stream For-Profit Media. Therefore, the Elite manipulate the "voters?" through their corporate propaganda machine to "have an opinion", "to think that they are thinking", "to believe in something" such as the so-called "grass roots" movement that allegedly put Barack Obama in office when in reality, that is an illusion of the highest caliber. Those who ever voted for any particular politician who actually got into office, never actually got into office by any real votes. The Super Elite control who actually is put in office. Money literally CAN buy ANYTHING.

Marie W.
Marie W7 years ago

Coming soon to a country near you..

DeRae S.
Mr. & Mrs. Wm. S7 years ago


Siusaidh C.
Susan C7 years ago

Uri Avnery, "The New Anti-Semitism"
This wonderful man is one of the grandfathers of the Israeli peace movement

The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone.

“Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!”

“Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!”

“Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.”

“But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists.

“You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State - and Israel loves them!”

Complete article at: http://www.countercurrents.org/avnery070811.htm