Israelis Protest Against Budget, Netanyahu's Expenses
Israelis marched in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva on Saturday night, protesting against the state budget which was passed this week and which includes tax increases and austerity measures, as well as against the increase in the budget of the Prime Minister’s official residence.
Protests also took place outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s private residences in Jerusalem and Caesarea, as well as in Netanya, where several demonstrators were detained by police after they tried to block traffic on the Coastal Highway.
Young members of the Meretz, Labor and Ra’am parties protested outside Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, carrying signs which read, “No to the budget", "Bibi is only good for the rich" and “Transfer money from settlements to neighborhoods."
One of the demonstrators put on a mask of Netanyahu, and the activists threw pistachio-flavored ice cream on it, a reference to a recent revelation that Netanyahu’s staff had allocated an annual budget of 9,714 shekels for ice cream for the Netanyahu family, causing public outrage.
"The wasteful and extravagant lifestyle of the Prime Minister as revealed this week explains how he can sign for such an unjust budget," the protesters said, referring to figures which show that the budget of the Prime Minister’s Residence has increased by 80% over a period of four years.
"Netanyahu is completely disconnected from the way ordinary people in the country live. This evening we will call him to come out of the bed he purchased for half a million a shekels and look at the citizens of Israel straight in the eyes,” they added.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid was also the focus of the criticism at a protest in Tel Aviv, during which demonstrators yelled, “There is no future, there is no tomorrow when Lapid is Finance Minister.” They also cried out, "Where's the money?", a reference to Lapid’s slogan during the Knesset elections.