Tel Aviv protest 23/7/11
Tel Aviv protest 23/7/11Flash 90

Police arrested 43 people and detained about 200 Sunday in Tel Aviv riots over the price of housing. The protesters were estimated at 20,000 strong.

Police will ask to extend the remand of about ten protesters.

The protest, although justified to a certain extent with regard to young couples and rising prices, has become politicized, mounted mostly by middle-class liberals and nationalists have largely been excluded from it.

The woman described as the protest leader, Daphne Leaf, gave an anti-government speech Sunday at the Tel Aviv Museum. “Bibi broke the camel’s back,” she said, using Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s nickname, even though the Prime Minister has been working on land reform since his election and inherited a good part of the problem, exacerbated by the building freeze which the New Israel Fund supported.

Maariv commentator Erel Segal noted that Leaf, 25, has been employed as a video editor for the New Israel Fund, a neo-Marxist fund that partners with the Ford Foundation. 

Segal points out several facts that do not jibe with the protest leaders’ claims.

  1. Seventy percent of Israelis live in homes that they own. This is 3 percent more than the statistic in the United States, and 20-30 percent more than in Germany or Holland.
  2. The Green Movement, which is taking part in the protest, is itself the body responsible for blocking numerous housing construction projects on the ground that they hurt the environment.
  3. The leftist movements behind the housing protest are also the ones that fight for the rights of illegal infiltrators not to be deported. But these infiltrators live in neighborhoods in southern Tel Aviv that could otherwise house Israelis just like the protesters.
Nationalist bodies have pointed out that the best solution for Israelis seeking inexpensive housing close to work centers is to relocate to Judea and Samaria and for the government to allow construction there. However, the leftist protesters are against the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.