By Jean Shaoul:
10 August 2011
Benyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, faces his biggest political crisis since taking power more than two years ago, as protests continue following last Saturday’s demonstrations. More than a quarter of a million people took to the streets Saturday to protest the soaring cost of living, and thousands protesting high housing costs are continuing to camp out in tent cities in Israel’s major cities.
The protest organizers, mainly young people, have called for a million-person march in 50 cities across the country on September 3.
In Tel Aviv, the economic heart of the country, hundreds of pensioners rallied outside the city government on Monday, demanding the government lower medicine costs, cancel value-added taxes on basic necessities, and prevent a cut in their pensions. Gideon Ben Yisrael, the head of the pensioners’ union, told Ha’aretz that the pensioners identified with the nation-wide social struggle against housing costs and the cost of living, but were also demanding solutions to their problems.
Dozens of non-profit and social organizations are to hold an emergency conference to formulate their recommendations to the Dialogue Committee set up by Netanyahu last weekend, under the leadership of Israeli economist Manuel Trajtenberg.
Netanyahu’s coalition government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, is incapable of addressing the social grievances of the Israeli people. He has refused to meet with the protesters personally, instead delegating the task of “listening” to the Dialogue Committee.
See also here.
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