Israelis to take to the streets in protest of housing costs in Tel Aviv
Protesters are expected to march from their tent encampment on Rothschild Blvd. to plaza in front of Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where rally will be held.
A huge demonstration in Tel Aviv Saturday evening is being organized by the leaders of the tent protest over the cost of housing. The protesters are expected to march from their tent encampment on Rothschild Blvd. to the plaza in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where a rally will be held. Currently the only two definite speakers are the head of National Union of Israeli Students, Itzik Shmuli, and Dafne Leef, who organized the initial housing protest. Those involved in coordinating the event said no politicians will be speaking.
Organizers declined Thursday to predict the size of the demonstration, but said it would be a significant moment in their campaign.
The National Union of Israeli Students has made great efforts in the past several days to focus the protest and present concrete demands to the government. Nonetheless, as the protest movement has grown, additional groups with agendas that go beyond the housing issue have joined in, seeking to direct the movement in ways that favor their goals. It is doubtful that the university students, who comprise a substantial part of the protest, will manage to head off the inclusion of other social issues, or even political or diplomatic ones.
"This is a decisive period for the students and this protest," Shmuli said, stressing that the subject of the protest is the housing shortage. Achieving progress on this issue requires that the protests not be allowed to be deflected in other directions, he said.
"The goal of the protest is affordable housing. In the meantime," Shmuli said, "the government is showing imperviousness and as a result we will intensify this fight until results are achieved. From our standpoint as university students, from the moment there are satisfactory solutions, the fight will have ended in success. We are students, not a political organization. Our goal isn't to goad the government, but rather to remedy social injustice." The goal of the protest is not to solve every kind of problem or to redistribute wealth, Shmuli added.
The tent protest city on Rothschild Blvd. continued to expand Thursday, and now included hundreds of tents. About a hundred demonstrators from the tent encampment conducted a torchlight march Thursday evening to the site of a nearby luxury apartment building. Prior to this demonstrators briefly blocked an intersection in the vicinity as hundreds of others remained at the tent city.