Hundreds of people remained in nearly 40 tents at Tel Aviv's Habima Square on Saturday to protest skyrocketing housing prices.
Organizers of the protest, now entering its third day, said Israel's government has forsaken the people. Hundreds of residents visited the peaceful rally site Friday night, showing their support and cheering on the protesters, activists said.
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Charges that the demonstration was associated with Israel's leftist camp surfaced after Knesset Member Miri Regev (Likud) was greeted with hostile chants and ended up fleeing the site Friday. However, organizers denied suggestions that the rally was politically motivated.
"This is a social battle, not a political one," said one of the event's organizers, Roey Noiman.
"The government has abandoned the people and the youth in this country. The protest is not sectarian but we do have a problem with anyone who is a part of this government, which has forsaken the people," he said.
Part of the anger is aimed at Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
"He is part of this government...He can't be coy about it. Even Isaac Herzog, who was part of the government until not so long ago, must provide some answers," Noiman said.
The protest organizer also addressed the hardships young Israelis face these days.
"It's a basic fact – young people complete their army service, pay taxes, give everything to the State – but see no silver lining, no future," he said. "It's the basic responsibility of the government, of the prime minster himself, to citizens. We cannot go on like this."
'Politicians work for us'
"We are the sovereigns and we don't work for the politicians, they work for us and they must answer our questions," Noiman said. "We plan on leading this state and not being led by it. We are the people… This is the definition of democracy."
The organizers promised that the tents will remain in place come Sunday.
"Tomorrow morning people will leave here for work and return to their tents afterwards, as if it was their home. The idea is to paralyze the economy. If we can't live in apartments we're going to live here," said Noiman.
The activists said they decided to treat politicians with respect throughout this battle and would welcome any politician who arrives at the site.
The event's organizer, Daphni Leef, concluded: "We have a primary goal, all of us together. We're trying to keep this protest ego-free… Everyone deserves the right to speak his mind."
Billy Frenkel contributed to this report
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