Leaders of the housing crisis protest blocked roads in several locations across Israel Monday after the Knesset decided to advance the national housing committees bill.
Protest leaders said police authorized the blocking of roads for 20 minutes at 2 pm, but police denied the claims. In Jerusalem protestors chanted, "We don't want charity – we want justice."
They were cleared by police after blocking a road near the Paris Square. A protest near the prime minister's residence was also attended by doctors and residents.
Blocking Azrieli Junction in Tel Aviv (Photo: Yaron Brener)
In Tel Aviv, protestors blocked a road adjacent to the Azrieli Towers and chanted, "Netanyahu wake up – the public is worth more." Tents were set up in the junction. One demonstrator said: "We are sorry we are forced to block roads and disrupt routine but there is no more normal behavior in Israel. I don't believe the prime minister."
Roads were also blocked in Haifa and Rosh HaAyin. Demonstration were held in Rishon Lezion and Beersheba.
In light of the housing and doctors' protests, Interior Minister Eli Yishai sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin suggesting that the Knesset recess – scheduled for August 3 until the end of October – be canceled.
"The State of Israel is undergoing one of the worst crises in its history – beginning with the rise in consumer prices and the real estate crisis all the way to the crisis in social medicine," Yishai wrote in his letter to Rivlin.
"In these times it would be proper for public representatives to remember their mission – Coalition as well as Opposition members – with incessant work in Knesset committees, plenum hearings, and legislation – all for the benefit of dealing with the price of living."
A Knesset committee on Monday decided to add affordable housing to the goals of the national housing committees bill. The new clauses will apply to affordable housing for rent. Netanyahu is slated to announce further measures to ease the housing crisis on Tuesday.
Omri Efraim, Roi Mandel, Yair Altman, Raanan Ben-Zur, Eli Senyor, Ahiya Raved and Billy Frenkel contributed to this report