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      Major Labor Union Chairman Ofer Eini Joins Housing Protest

      Histadrut Labor Union Head Ofer Eini says housing solutions are within reach. Is there a hidden agenda?
      By David ben Yacov
      First Publish: 7/27/2011, 6:06 PM

      Netanyahu and Eini
      Netanyahu and Eini
      Flash 90

      The head of the powerful Histadrut national labor union, Ofer Eini, announced Wednesday that the umbrella organization would join the housing protest. “The protest on the streets is over an acute issue," he told Arutz Sheva. "It primarily affects the middle class. It isn’t only over high rent and real estate rates. It’s about the high cost of food, and exorbitant taxes. Netanyahu must propose a plan that will give the state back to the people. The public feels the state is indifferent to its distress.”

      Eini added that if the PM doesn’t heed his call by Saturday night, the Union will use all the means at its disposal.

      He explained that the beginning of the collapse of the Israeli middle class started during the tenure of the previous government. “The state suddenly decided to go from a socialist state that provides for its citizens to a capitalist self-serving market, without government intervention.”

      According to Eini, the issue isn’t only housing. “The middle class is almost non-existent. Some people can’t make ends meet even with 14 thousand NIS per month.

      “The hopelessness is worst of all. People feel abandoned by the state. Billions in excess taxes are not returned to the citizens.

      “I could go complaining to the media, and be done with it, but I’m seeking a viable solution. I tried negotiating with the Prime Minister without success. I met with the Treasury and Industry ministers to no avail.

      “The middle class is in distress, and must be addressed. It isn’t only about housing. Significant financial assistance must be provided, in the form of subsidized state-owned apartments.”

      Arutz Sheva analysts comment: Eini’s attempt to strongarm Netanyahu over the housing protest, threatening to use his clout as Labor Union Chairman and brandishing the sword of a union strike is no less than a political putsch. It is not part of his mandate as a union leader who is supposed to protect workers' salaries and work conditions. Eini would be wise to remember that the Prime Minister was elected democratically, and is entrusted with the task of the social leadership of the State of Israel. It would be unthinkable that the IDF Chief of Staff would demand, say, educational reforms – and threaten the government with military action.

      The right to strike should be used sparingly. Many ultra-capitalist entities are trying to deny the unions that right by refusing to allow their employees to unionize, and unnecessary employment of this measure could be counter-productive.