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Daily Israel Report

Nationalists Join Housing Protest

Im Tirtzu, My Israel, Raananim descend on leftist Tel Aviv protest at Rothschild Ave. under police protection.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/3/2011, 7:42 PM

Hundreds of nationalists carrying Israel flags joined the main protest site at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Ave, where people have been camping out for two weeks and demanding affordable housing. 

The protest was initiated and led by figures associated with the radical Left and has received assistance from the radical New Israel Fund. The marches have been full of red flags, and nationalists have been wary of joining the protest, especially after some of them were attacked in the first days of the protest. 
Grassroots student organization Im Tirtzu joined in the early phase and then left, while Facebook-based My Israel refused to join unless the protesters sang Hatikvah.
 
On Wednesday, however, activists from both Im Tirtzu and My Israel, as well as Raananim and other nationalist groups joined the protest. They do not share the leftist organizers' goals, however, and instead of demanding face-to-face negotiations with Binyamin Netanyahu on live television, recommend that the prices of basic food products be cut by 20%.
 
They are also offering construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as a way of easing housing prices.
 
The march was protected by dozens of members of the YASAM special police. 
 
Veteran activist Baruch Marzel, who is parliamentary aide to MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), was among the first to arrive. He was accompanied by about 100 activists. 
 
"The National Union faction decided to join the protest and sent a letter to Bibi, who ignored it of course," said Marzel. "Therefore we decided today to join the protest at Rothschild Ave., as well as other places. There are 100 people here who arrived and began building a synagogue and with G-d's help will strengthen Jews and bring them closer to their Father in heaven."
 
Most of the people in the tents are not leftists," Marzel added. "I mean, if you put all of the leftists in a bus you will still have room for additional passengers. There are almost no leftists remaining in Israel."