Rothschild Blvd tent city.
Rothschild Blvd tent city. Photo by Moti Milrod
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Dan Keinan
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai Photo by Dan Keinan

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told reporters at a press conference Sunday that the tent city set up on Rothschild Boulevard in protest of high housing prices has a limited lifespan and will eventually come to an end.

Huldai also did not rule out the possibility of the municipality eventually evacuating the protesters.

“The protests have a limited lifespan,” Huldai said, adding “this is not for generations to come – do you know any cities where all its streets are full of tents? This is a protest, and all protests eventually end.”

The Tel Aviv mayor, speaking at a conference to launch an initiative to hand out housing grants to students who will live in south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, said “from the start, we have tried to allow protests on the one hand, and keep public order on the other. The fact is we have not touched the tent city.”

Huldai refused to answer when Haaretz asked about the government’s conduct since the protests began a few weeks ago, saying “the solution to the housing problem in Israel cannot be found in the city of Tel Aviv, that is all of 51 square kilometers. The solution can be found with the government’s policy for selling and subsidizing property, its definition of affordable housing, etc.”

The Tel Aviv mayor praised the public’s outcry, saying he hoped “one day when you arrive at the voting booth you will vote for people who plan on being involved in the housing market.”

Protest leaders met also on Sunday to discuss its demands of the government, criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his decision to create a ministerial committee to deal with the plethora of social issues that have sparked protests throughout the country.

“My optimism from yesterday has been replaced today with pessimism,” Pesach Hoffster, the head of the Dror Israel movement said on Sunday, adding “this was his meaningful moment that would have allowed him to gain back the public’s trust in him and the political system.“

Hoffster then said that Netanyahu had squandered an opportunity yet again, claiming that instead of realizing that the government must radically changes its economic policy, Netanyahu created a “giant committee, that no one knows when it will start and when it will end. No one knows what the mandate of this committee even is.”