Speaking to thousands of protestors in Tel Aviv Thursday evening, Histadrut labor union federation Chairman Ofer Eini slammed the government, urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "listen to the people."
"Who gains from the rising prices? Only the government," Eini told a cheering crowd. "Netanyahu, listen to the people."
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Eini also slammed the government for accusing Israel's workers of becoming "tycoons."
"We're tycoons? We are barely able to make ends meet," he said.
Eini also lauded the young leaders who initiated the housing protest, saying they were the real leaders of the protest.
"We will support you in every rally," he said, repeating several times that protest organizers Daphni Leef and her colleagues were leading the campaign.
"You will lead and we are with you with full force, so that finally we'll make a real social change into his country," he said.
10,000 protest in Tel Aviv
The Histadrut joined the housing protest on Thursday as some 10,000 workers from both the private and public sectors arrived at the organization's building in Tel Aviv to protest against the high cost of living.
Others were still arriving from throughout the country on buses.
The workers carried signs saying, "We want justice, not charity" and "Justice cries out to heaven while the Health Ministry shuts its eyes."
Workers belonging to unions of various banks as well as the military industry, Aviation Authority, and the Electric Company brought their families to show support.
Many said it was the first time they had seen such a large turnout for a Histadrut function. "
We should have done it a long time ago," said Shiri, who works as a kindergarten assistant and says she earns only minimum wage.
Last week Histadrut Chairman Eini announced he would join the struggle.
"The middle class is disappearing. The government has fallen in love with its taxes," he said, adding that he wanted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to create more public housing.
However, although much support was voiced in favor of the move, many feared Eini would use it for political gain.
"Eini has not proven himself as someone who really cares about the workers so there is not much faith in him," said Gil Sason, a Histadrut activist.
Sason was in favor of supporting the housing protests, however.
"This is a battle of the people and we won't allow anyone to silence it or create a 'package deal' that won’t really benefit citizens," he said.
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