Protest: Organizers Think Big, Ketzaleh Thinks Bigger
Organizers of the tent protests in Tel Aviv and elsewhere are hoping for major turnout at a Saturday night rally in Tel Aviv. The protest will be the third in three weeks, and some have expressed hope that after an estimated crowd of 30,000 the first time and 150,000 the second, they will reach 500,000.
MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz (Ichud Leumi) has even bigger aspirations. Ketzaleh called Friday for Israelis living in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem – a total of one million people – to turn out in their masses.
“I ask that one million Jews, the primary victims of Netanyahu's anti-social policies, who live in the capital, in Judea and Samaria, to come out in force on Saturday night to the protest on Kaplan street in Tel Aviv,” he said. “We will protest the housing freeze.”
He praised community leaders in Judea and Samaria who have organized busing from the region to Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
Many of the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria consider themselves part of the political right, which has grappled with the issue of when and how to take part in the housing protests. While nationalist groups originally joined in the protest for lowering the cost of housing, many pulled out as extreme-left organizers grabbed the podium.
The radical New Israel Fund was found to be involved in funding the protest, and the supposed grassroots leaders who took center-stage – leading one minister to condemn them as “leeches” - may have been designated in advance by the group.
However, Zionist groups decided to rejoin the struggle this week despite attempts by some organizers to steer it toward the far Left. Nationalist groups have presented their own recommendations for dealing with food prices and the housing crisis, while avoiding other organizers' claims of a nationwide social crisis.