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Housing Protest Leaders Lose Ground with Silly Demands

Left-wing rabble rousers' demands to negotiate with Netanyahu himself, on live television, may lose them Union support.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/1/2011, 5:15 AM

Protesters
Protesters
Flash 90

The ultra-left-wing leaders of the housing protest which has swept Israel in the past few days lost ground Sunday when they presented a list of strange demands after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would dispatch a team to negotiate with them.

The foursome at the forefront of the housing protest – supposedly spontaneous grassroots leaders who may, however, have been designated in advance by New Israel Fund organizers – met Sunday with the head of the powerful Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini.

The foursome – Daphne Leef,  Yigal Rambam, Regev Kontes and Stav Shafir – demanded that the Prime Minister himself sit at the negotiating table with them. They further demanded that negotiations be held on live television, and with the press present in the room. They also insisted that he cancel the National Housing Committees Law as a precondition for meeting him.

The head of the National Student Union, Itzik Shamoli, withdrew from a joint press conference he was to hold with the protest leaders after he heard of their demands.  

Eini, too, voiced wonder at the foursome's demands and ended the meeting with them without joining the protest. Eini and the four leaders will meet again on Tuesday, however.

Maariv reported that Eini asked that the leaders present a clear set of demands, but that the foursome preferred to leave things murky as they have been in the past two weeks.