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

Hundreds of participants took part in a march in Jerusalem as part of the housing protest on Sunday night. The protesters made their way from IDF Square to the Knesset.

While the organizers of the demonstrations have claimed that their protest is not political, leftists attacked rightists several times during Sunday’s demonstration in Jerusalem.

“We came to the demonstration today to say that the housing shortage in Judea and Samaria can be solved,” Yosef Rabin, a protest participant, told Arutz Sheva. “But the far left activists from Sheikh Jarrah explained to us using violence that they do not care if we have an apartment.”

Rabin added, “I stood on a terrace. Suddenly me three to four young adults jumped on me and knocked me off the terrace while tearing the sign I was holding up. Once I was on the floor I felt several blows on my back. One of the assailants grabbed my glasses but with great effort I managed to get them back. Luckily the police intervened and saved me.”

David Ish Shalom, who also took part in the protest, described the attack: “We stood to the side on the terraces and Yosef was standing on a terrace higher. We both called out loud that there should be building in Judea and Samaria. The Leftists did not like this and crowded around us.

“Suddenly,” continued Ish Shalom, “I saw that they toppled Yosef and that he was on the ground. His poster disappeared. At that moment they grabbed the poster I was holding as well. I tried to hold on tightly to the poster, then pushed they me into the fence and violently ripped the poster out of my hands. I was injured in my foot because of this violence. The police intervened and helped me.”

On Saturday night, police arrested 43 people and detained about 200 during riots in Tel Aviv over the price of housing. The protesters were estimated at 20,000 strong.

While pointing to an undeniable difficulty with regard to the purchase of homes by young couples, the protest is increasingly being criticized as political. It is being mounted mostly by middle-class liberals and nationalists have largely been excluded from it.

Last week, for example, MK Miri Regev was attacked during her visit to a young couple’s protest tent against high housing prices in Tel Aviv. The attackers reportedly used derogatory language against Regev, cursed her, made obscene gestures, and threw water at her.

Regev subsequently told Army Radio that “radical leftists” were attempting to transform an issue-oriented protest into a political struggle. She later filed a complaint with the police against the attackers.

But Sarah Becker, one of the participants in the tent protest, insisted in a conversation with Arutz Sheva last week that the housing issue affects everyone.

“This is how people in power usually try to put people down,” she said. “I’m from a ‘settlement.’ I lived in one my whole life and I now live in Rehovot, so this is not just a Tel Aviv problem. It affects people from all economic statuses. It’s leftists, it’s rightists, it’s everyone.”