The leaders of the New Israel Fund's press-driven housing protests that have occupied Israel's mass media over the summer held a press conference Wednesday in which they continued their strident anti-government tone. One of the leaders, Daphni Leef, called for the resignation of Prof. Manuel Trachtenberg, who was appointed to head a committee for recommending reforms in the economy.
Trajtenberg, a respected economist, has asked to meet with the protest leaders but they have refused thus far, preferring instead to consult with an ad hoc committee of left-wing economists and academicians.
Leef said that the Trajtenberg Committee "knowingly misleads the public, because while the public awaits a real, deep and continuous change in the socio-economic agenda, and constitutional and structural changes that will not allow the market to continue to be strongly centralized, the committee does not have the mandate or authority to effect such a change."
She demanded that the Knesset be convened during its summer recess to discuss the protesters' demands. Leef and other speakers promised that a million people would attend a protest rally on September 3.
A crack in the protest movement was felt toward the end of the news conference, when Uriel Raz, one of the first volunteers at the tent city, stood up and asked the leadership not to be "like the government" and to refrain from making decisions without consulting the protesters in the tent cities. "You have to involve everyone because meanwhile we hear everything through the media and we do not understand whom you are representing." Raz's protest against the protest leaders was met with enthusiasm in the audience.