Tel Aviv 'Tent City' Demonstrations Continue to Draw Hundreds

Protests against high rent prices spread to other Israel cities as National Student Union announces launch of demonstrations throughout country.

Protests against high rent prices spread to other Israel cities as National Student Union announces launch of demonstrations inadditional cities in upcoming week.

“Tentcity” protests continued in Tel Aviv Saturday, drawing hundreds to participate in a nationwide effort to combat high rent prices and an ongoing housing shortage.

Protest tents against housing shortages and high rent prices on Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv, July 2011.
Motti Kimchi

The protests and have spread to other Israeli cities,such as Be’er Sheva and Kiryat Shmona and the National Student Union announced Saturday they would be launching protests in other cities throughout the country during the upcoming week.

The protest began on Thursday when hundreds of Tel Aviv residents set up rows of tents on the northern end of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard. The makeshift "city" has attracted young adults,families, random passers-by, and politicians, who have all come to support the protesters' efforts.

The organizers of the Tel Aviv protests have called on government authorities to work toward lowering rent prices, however they have not offered any concrete solutions to the housing shortage.

On Saturday, several politicians arrived at the Rothschild Boulevard demonstration to show solidarity with the protesters, however some were not welcome at the temporary city.

Both Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir were heckled and left before they could finish their speeches, while Likud MK Miri Regev was kicked off the premises for being part of the government coalition.

Several notable left-wing MKs, including Isaac Herzog (Labor), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), and Dov Khenin (Hadash) were welcomed with open arms by the protesters.

Herzog, who previously served as Minister of Welfare and Social Services, spoke to the crowd, expressing his disappointment with a government that is too busy “passing laws limiting freedom of speech” instead of taking care of its youth.