Tel Aviv Tent Protesters Seek to 'Overthrow Bibi'

Leftist MKs, unions pile into Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, complaining about housing crisis, and calling to replace Netanyahu.

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Cynthia Blank,

Social protest, 2012
Social protest, 2012
Flash 90

Protestors have returned to Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, but in much smaller numbers than in the summer of 2011. 

Around 150 people gathered Sunday night on the busy thoroughfare, with 20 setting up tents, to protest Israel's housing crisis and the high cost of living. 

The protest comes in the wake of the State Comptroller's report on housing, published last week, which placed heavy blame for the crisis on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's last two governments. 

While several leftist MKs were on hand at the demonstration, including Dov Khenin (Hadash), now running with the Joint Arab List, and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, there were some notable exceptions. 

Ilan Gilon (Meretz), known for his participation in similar events, cancelled at the last minute, and Labor MK Itzik Shmuli, one of the driving forces behind the major housing protest in 2011, only sent a message to the media. 

Several workers' unions joined the demonstration Monday morning, protesting mass dismissals and other disputes. Labor MK Merav Michaeli also arrived in solidarity with the workers. 

"The Prime Minister is only talking about Iran," Michaeli charged. "They [the workers] realize and understand that the Prime Minister is not worried about their interests, or their rights. We need to replace him."

Michaeli added that her party was committed to workers' right. "This is our deepest ideology. We fought for these rights in the opposition, and when we're in the government, we can do it properly."

Also on hand was Naor Narkis, the leader of the “Milky Protest," who caused a media firestorm in October when he launched a Facebook campaign suggesting young Israelis move to Berlin because of the lower cost of living there. 

Fierily addressing the protestors Narkis said: "There is a man sitting in the Prime Minister's Residence who doesn't care about us, doesn't care about the citizens. He went to the United States to speak, and that's all well and good, but first of all, he should speak in Hebrew to the citizens of Israel."

"People are fed up with living with a suitcase by the door; we want chance. Every politician will understand that the public is sovereign and we have the power," he thundered.

Due to the small numbers and the absence of a clear platform, it remains to be seen if the protest will inspire the same sort of support generated in 2011. 








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