Rothschild's 'tent city'
Photo: Yaron Brener
Yesha council chairman in Tel Aviv
Photo: Moti Kimhi

Yesha Council seeks to join social protest

Chairman back cause, but says rightists can't cooperate with 'anarchist' leaders who defy IDF

Yesha Council Chairman Naftali Bennett visited 'tent city' on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard Tuesday in a bid to join the protest against rising housing costs.


Bennett met with leaders of the protest and told them, "The 50,000 Israelis living beyond the Green Line in Samaria and the area of the Dead Sea are citizens like all the rest, they pay taxes and live with the same hardships."


However, he explained, the right-wing activists who want to join the movement dislike the fact that "some of the leaders of the struggle are anarchists who oppose the IDF".


"We cannot cooperate with these people, but the struggle itself is righteous and everyone shares this pain. We are not for the overturning of the government but rather a practical solution for the immediate future," he said.



Earlier dozens of students took part in a march Tuesday from "tent city" on Rothschild Boulevard to the city's government plaza, carrying bales of hay on their backs.


One of the leaders of the march called out, "Hurry, donkeys. Is it heavy?" The march intended to show, they said, that the students are "the state's asses". The marchers then staged a demonstration, shouing, "Bibi it's over, my back is broken."


The march came ahead of a meeting scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon between leaders of the housing crisis protest throughout Israel, in order to formulate a list of demands to be passed on to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Gadi Peretz, who established Beersheba's tent protest, told Ynet, "We want to be involved in the decisions made in Tel Aviv. There is no one who represents the periphery."


He also complained of a lack of cooperation between protest leaders: "They were unfocussed yesterday, confused," he said of the Tel Aviv protest leaders, who backtracked on their initial demands of the government, such as having a camera present in all Cabinet hearings.


"It wasn't done on purpose, they're just young… But it's important to stress that not only youths are taking part in the protest, this is a struggle of the proletariat. I am a family man and I earn minimum wage, and it's important people know this."


Adar Stern, of the Ben Gurion University Student Union, explained that the protesters in the city wanted to focus first and foremost on "affordable housing and public housing" in addition to indirect taxation.


"We want the Negev and Galilee to offer employment, transportation, and housing solutions," Stern said, adding that the protest was in the meantime too centered on Tel Aviv.


Yael Sinai, the deputy chairwoman of the Hebrew University's Student Union, added a demand for the lowering of VAT and raising of taxes on the wealthy. "Social justice also means proper and egalitarian taxation," she said.


Ilana Curiel contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 08.02.11, 11:12
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