Leaders of the social protest sweeping across Israel added another item to their growing list of demands Tuesday – electricity rates.
In what has already been deemed as miserable timing, the Treasury on Sunday sanctioned a 10% increase in electric rates for domestic use. The hike will take effect next week.
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The ministry said the move was the lesser of two evils, as the original increase planned – due to the disruptions in the supply of natural gas from Egypt to Israel – was meant to amount to 20%.
Heeding the protest leaders' call, some 200 people marched – torches in hand – from the capital's Horses Park ("Gan Hasus") towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence.
Protesters were shouting "We want justice not charity," "The people demand social justice," and "Away with darkness," and waiving signs reading "This isn’t a mistake – it's policy," "The people demand a future" and "Bibi, we can't pay your price."
The march (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"The government is ignoring the public and is raising the prices of basic products. Electricity is every family's basic need," Inbal, a Jerusalem-based activist told Ynet. "Netanyahu can't keep ignoring the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets. If he does that, we'll pull the plug on the government."
"We're not surprised that Netanyahu raised electricity prices and is steadily ignoring the masses," activist Dana Ganel added.
"He's a neo-liberal and that's his economic policy. But we won't stand for it. The protests will continue until Netanyahu realizes he is dealing with the entire nation."
The protest movement also called for nationwide action in the form of a five-minute "protest blackout" on Wednesday night.
"We expect the government to be practical and show signs of actual action, but all we're getting is more and more slaps in the face. We urge everyone to turn off their lights on Wednesday in solidarity of the protest," Stav Shafir, one of the protest movement's leaders told Ynet.
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