Several hundred protesters demonstrated outside the Knesset
and other government offices in Jerusalem on Tuesday claiming the state loans they receive are not sufficient to allow them to leave absorption centers and find independent housing.
Ensuing clashes saw Border Guard
forces and officers mounted on horses exercising force against the protesters. Two officers were lightly wounded and at least nine people were arrested.
The protest was cleared ahead of time by the police. Demonstrators sat on the Yitzhak Rabin road, causing heavy gridlock.
Similar protests over the housing assistance were held a year ago.
Israel provides immigrants with aid amounting to approximately NIS 300,000. With rising apartment prices, olim claim that state loans are not enough to be eligible for a mortgage and some are forced to stay in the absorption centers, sometimes for years.
Reta Spinawi, one of the organizers of the protest, said that young single immigrants suffer the most. "They don't get a mortgage and can't leave. Rents are high, salaries are low and there's no one to support them. Young couples also get too little. It's catastrophic. We packed like sardines."
Ethiopian families leaving absorption centers are entitled to aid and loans for the purchase of apartments in areas designated by the Housing and Absorption Ministries.
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