protest Tel Aviv - 4.8.11
Protesters outside the Histadrut headquaters in Tel Aviv on August 4, 2011. Photo by Tal Cohen
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Nir Keidar
Parents and children demonstrating in stroller marchers in Tel Aviv's Gan Meir. Photo by Nir Keidar

More than 1,000 parents participated Thursday in stroller marches across Israel, with about 500 in Tel Aviv, 400 in Hertzliya, 200 in Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa, and about 50 in Sderot, all protesting against the high cost of raising children in Israel.

Meanwhile, a protest took place outside the Histadrut headquarters in Tel Aviv, where Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini and the head of the workers' committee  presented speeches to demonstrators. Youth groups, together with representatives of the National Union of Israeli Students, also participated in the rally.

Elsewhere in Tel Aviv, about 1,500 university lecturers, students, teachers and youth group leaders marched on Rothschild Boulevard. They made their way to the house of Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, calling out, "Free education for all."

The Tel Aviv stroller march headed to Gan Meir, where marchers were set to hold a rally. Despite the turnout of about 500 parents and children, this number did not meet the expectations of the protest's organizers, who predicted thousands would attend.

Yael Barda, one of the stroller march's organizers rejected claims by Eini and members of the Treasury, in which they said the demand for free education for children aged 10 and over is unreasonable. "We suggest the Treasury sits back down in front of their laptops and recalculates, because we aren't going anywhere," she said.

Barda called upon the protesters to continue taking to the streets and demonstrating against the cost of living in Israel. "We've held back for a long time with all the cynicism we have for Treasury clerks and the Israeli government. They have buried all the social laws over the last 20 years. We are not cynical. We have dreams and we are going to change this country," she said.

At the stroller marches, parents called out "The people demand social justice," "Let's show the government just who's dragging the trolley," and "We won't give up, reduce the prices."

Hundreds of parents and children also began marching from Hatotach Square in Kiryat Motszkin, near Haifa, and blocked the road, with police permission.