Daily Israel Report

Not Just Tel Aviv: Housing Protest Hits Judea and Samaria

The tent city housing protests have also reached the Gush Etzion community of Tekoa. Arutz Sheva was there.
By Elad Benari & Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 7/27/2011, 8:08 AM / Last Update: 7/27/2011, 10:08 PM

The housing protest has extended beyond major cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem. Arutz Sheva visited on Tuesday another ‘tent city’ which has been set up in the Gush Etzion community of Tekoa.

Tekoa’s tent city has been set up outside the community secretariat and includes 20 tents with young couples and their children.

“We came to present the problem of the housing protest,” explained Akiva Amiel, a Tekoa resident who initiated the protest. “Just like in the big cities, there’s also a problem in rural areas – in kibbutzim and moshavim. Here, too, the prices are completely exaggerated and my friends and I don’t have an option of either buying or renting a home in the community in which we grew up.”

Amiel said the residents’ protest is “a combined protest. First of all, we’re joining the nationwide protest against the government. We also have a few local issues against the secretariat. That’s why we’ve chosen this spot, but definitely the idea is to join the protest in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem and in the big cities.”

He spoke of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s short term and long term plans to solve the crisis, as he presented them on Tuesday, and said: “It sounds nice. There are a few ridiculous things in the plan but it sounds like political slogans and we’ll stay here until we see real results.”

The protesters have received support from the community’s rabbi, Rabbi Menachem Froman, who has set up a booth near the tents and studies Gemara during the day.

“I, thank G-d, have been privileged with many things and one of them is that all ten of my children are ‘settlers,’” Rabbi Froman told Arutz Sheva. “Most of them are in Tekoa, and this is a situation which is an absolute disgrace for the settlement enterprise, just as it is a disgrace for the people of Israel in Ashdod and in Tel Aviv, that people who are just starting off and don’t have what is described as middle class income, can’t buy or rent an apartment in Tekoa, or an apartment anywhere in Israel."

“We’re identifying with the demand of Tel Aviv and Ashdod because we’re in favor of each Jew being able to live with dignity,” added the rabbi.