ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF
Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 7-27-11
The leaders of the Rothschild Blvd. tent protest in Tel Aviv reject Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposals on how to end the crisis, and vow to escalate their struggle. In a press conference yesterday at the encampment, the protest leaders accused Netanyahu and his ministers of failing to understand the depth of the people’s distress, and that this was reflected in the prime minister’s proposals.
Dafni Leif, one of the protest leaders, said, “Netanyahu remembered this morning that he had something small and marginal to take care of – a people. We have heard his plans and we want to tell him that we weren’t born yesterday. What he is offering us all is a huge fraud. He is continuing with, and even exacerbating, his and his government’s cynical policies.”
We say NO
Leif said that the prime minister, “is lying to all of us when he presents these solutions, whose masterpiece is that the state will give land for free to the contractors, who happen to be friends with the prime minister. They will get to build them, but the buildings will not be sold for free. This is what he calls affordable housing. This plan is a direct continuation of this government’s privatization plans. We say no to Netanyahu’s proposals.”
Yigal Rambam, another of the Rothschild Blvd. protest leaders, said, “The ground is heating up. There are 1,000 tents spread around the country. There are demonstrations every day, displays of strength. The spontaneous blocking of intersections two days ago was a reaction to the prime minister’s attempt to hijack the protest and pass the National Housing Commissions Law. We have shown the prime minister that the people are powerful.” Rambam added, “We will continue with our struggle until they return to us our right to live in dignity and to see a future.”
Stav Shafir, another protest leader, bitterly criticized the housing law. “This is more of a vandal’s law than anything else. It is violence against the people. How can they present this law as a step that will bring about affordable housing? Who will receive this affordable housing?”
Protesters living at the Tel Aviv encampment explained their resentment over Netanyahu’s promise to reduce the price of public transportation for students by 50%. They accused his policy of “divide and rule” while at the same time not providing solutions for distress in the broader sectors in society. “And what about the single mothers and the elderly?”
We don’t want cake, we want bread
Protest leaders promised to continue with their wide-range protest activities over the next few days, which will reach a peak on Saturday night, when large protests will take place simultaneously in many cities around the country. “We demand that Bibi does social justice here,” Leif said.
“Our revolution began on the same day as the French Revolution. There too the ruler failed to understand what he was up against. We don’t want cake, we want bread. We would like to tell the Minister of Taxes Yuval Steinitz that we do not wish to live in penthouses, we want to live in apartments,” Leif proclaimed.
A the start of the press conference, there was a confrontation between some of the tent protesters, who claimed that the protest leaders were operating on their own and did not represent all the participants in the protest. One of them, Eyal Tsafadiya, said, “The leadership is operating on its own and is not including all the protesters in its decisions, and in our opinion does not represent the overall group. There is no coordination between all the protesters.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – http://www.globes-online.com