Growing Israel Protests Spread to More Cities

By Ilan Lior and Revital Hovel (Haaretz)

Published August 10, 2011.

Protests against the rising costs of living marched on Wednesday in several cities across Israel. In Holon, protesters in the Jesse Cohen neighborhood burned tires and blocked roads after city inspectors ordered them to dismantle their tent compound within 24 hours. Most of the people occupying the tents are homeless.

The residents’ representative, Nissan Zacharia, criticized the municipality’s decision to clear the encampment. “A small match can ignite everything here,” he said, adding that if the tents are dismantled “[Holon] will become like London, and it will be the mayor’s responsibility.”

In Be’er Sheva, protesters marched in swimsuits chanting “the protest is spreading” (also “undresses” in Hebrew). A mass rally is planned for Saturday, with organizers hoping for a turnout of 50,000 people. Uri Keiday, who heads the Ben Gurion University Student Association, said the event will be historic. “There has never before been a protest on this scale in the Negev,” he said. “We are here to show those who want this protest to disappear that we are here to stay, and that this is everyone’s struggle, from south to north.”

In Wadi Nisnas in Haifa 200 protesters marched chanting the usual slogan – “the people want social justice” – but in Arabic. This was the first protests organized by Haifa’s Arab community, which constitutes ten percent of the city’s population.

Activists in other cities has been discussing whether the protest is political. Among these protesters in Haifa, the answer was clear, as they chanted, “The occupation is a disaster, it serves the tycoons,” and “money should be given to neighborhoods, not settlements.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com



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