Two of the leading nationalists in the housing protest tent site in Tel Aviv decided Thursday to fold up their tent and go home after hearing that the Ministry of Interior approved 4,300 housing units in Jerusalem. Baruch Marzel and Meir Bretler announced Thursday that they were satisfied by the government decision and would be leaving the protest area.
Nationalists were unsure at first whether to join the housing protest, which is led by leftists. Groups like grassroots activists My Israel and Im Tirtzu decided to joi
n in an attempt to make the protest less extreme and more Zionist. Other activists, like Marzel and Bretler, came to demand that housing be built in Judea and Samaria – a solution that is anathema to the leftists.
The decision to build more apartments in eastern Jerusalem is also an unpleasant one for the radical leftist organizers, who oppose such construction.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai warned Thursday morning that his party, Shas, could leave the government coalition unless the protests were heeded. "I would like to sit down with the local authority heads and hear from them what the solutions are for the housing shortage and the social crisis," he said at a meeting of local authority heads in Yokne'am. "If solutions are not found to the problems weighing down on citizens – that is, water, housing and the other social problems – I am ready to shake up the coalition," he warned.
Yishai's party, Shas, claims to represent the lower economic classes and has been upstaged by the leftist "social protest." Yishai warned three weeks ago that Shas could leave the coalition if the housing problem is not solved.