Protest tent city on Rothschild Boulevard
Photo: Ofer Amram

Tent protest spreads to north, south

Tel Aviv protest against housing prices gains momentum as Student Union announces plan to set up tents in Beersheba, Kiryat Shmona and other places across country. Right-wing, left-wing organizations express their support for activists too

Will the Tel Aviv protest against housing prices sweep an entire nation? The National Student Union on Saturday night announced its plan to set up protest tents on Sunday in the Sharon region and Beersheba.


Additional tents will be set up in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona later this week.



The protest activists have been gaining political backing as well. Right-wing organization Im Tirtzu and the National Left moment declared their support for the tent protest as well.


The Student Union's protest moves will be launched on at 6 pm Sunday at the Rupin College in the Sharon region, and at 8 pm at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. The students are expected to set up protest tents for several hours.


On Tuesday students from the Tel Hai College will set up a protest tent in Kiryat Shmona, and on Wednesday the protest will move to the Beit Berl College near Kfar Saba. Demonstrations may also be held in Jerusalem and Haifa.


'Gov't showing disrespect towards citizens'

The protest on all campuses is planned as a symbolic move and will take place for several hours.


"We're in the middle of the exam period right now," one of the students said. "But since this is an urgent issue for all of us, and we feel it very well in our bank accounts every month, we'll make the effort to come and protest."


The Tel Aviv Student Union has decided to join the struggle too. The Union plans to send text messages on Sunday to all 27,000 students at Tel Aviv University, urging them to visit the protest tent on Rothschild Boulevard.


Student Union Chairman Ran Livneh told Ynet, "The Israeli government is refusing to take responsibility for the housing issue in this country. It's unthinkable that Israelis have to pay their mortgage till the age of 60, that young couples save money for 10 years and still can't afford an apartment, and that students and young adults spend half of their paychecks on rent.


"In all European countries there are affordable housing solutions, which meet the needs of the low-income population and young people. Magic solutions like the 'real estate Supertanker' are ignorance if intentions are good or disrespect towards the citizens in the worst case. We are in touch with the struggle's initiators and are ready to offer them financial and logistic aid."


'This is the start of a revolution'

Meanwhile, the activists living in the Tel Aviv protest tent have vowed to stay there. The protest's initiator, Daphni Leef is even resigning from her job as a video editor in order to focus on promoting the struggle.


Roee Neuman, one of the organizers, said the activists received a message of support from the protest tent city in Madrid.


Neuman promised that the activists would stay at the protest tents all hours of the day. "One can set up a tent, go to work quietly and come back to one's new home," he said.



The Tel Aviv Municipality said it would not stop the protest. "The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality and mayor view the protest being held in the past few days as a democratic and legitimate protest on an important issue, and have no plans to prevent it from taking place."


Many artists have preformed at the protest tent city and expressed their support for the activists. And yet, activists say it hasn't been easy.


"We can't stand the heat," one of the tent dwellers told Ynet. "But the person who should be sweating is (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu. We're with our back against the wall, we have nothing to lose.


"This protest is the start of a revolution. We'll bring down any government indifferent to the people's needs, regardless of whether it's a rightist or leftist government."


Tomer Velmer and Meirav Crystal contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 07.17.11, 07:49
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