Haifa protest August 13, 2011 (Hagai Fried)
Protesters in Haifa, August 13, 2011 Photo by Hagai Fried
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Social protests took place throughout Israel on Saturday, with demonstrators turning out en masse in Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Afula. This was the first time since the start of the social protests nearly a month ago that Tel Aviv did not hold a march.

Protests also took place in Eilat, Rosh Pina, Nahariya, Dimona, Modi'in, Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Netanya, Beit She’an as well as other cities throughout Israel.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Haifa from Meirhoff Square in Kiryat Eliezer to Hameginim Square at Ben-Gurion Junction, and then to the Bahai Gardens. Roughly 30,000 protesters are estimated to have taken part in the demonstration. Chemi Rodner, Daniel Solomon and Monica Sex performed in solidarity with the protesters.

Yossi Baruch, the representative for the largest tent city in Haifa, addressed the crowd, saying “they tell us we don’t have focus, but we are super focused and know exactly what we want.”

The social activist continued, saying, “we want there to be a welfare state here, and a welfare state is not just a slogan. It means free education for every boy and girl, from the moment their mother finishes her maternity leave until they finish their doctorate. A welfare state is a place where its citizens receive fair wages.”

Over 20,000 demonstrators turned out in Be’er Sheva on Rager Boulevard near the tent city. Achinoam Nini, Kobi Oz, the rap group Hadag Nachash and Margalit Tzan’ani all gave performances.

Margalit Tzan’ani said before the protest on Saturday, “I never opposed the protest, I myself am from the periphery,” adding, “I am coming to support the people here.. Be’er Sheva is not the periphery.”

Roughly 15,000 people demonstrated at Independence Square in Afula. The protest was held for residents from the Galilee and northern valley area, who call themselves the “northern front”. Israeli singers Muki, Yuval Banai, Keren Peles, Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila all performed.

An amalgam of speakers were invited to address the northern protesters, meant to represent the different sectors of northern Israeli society, including students, farmers, Arabs, workers, youth and residents of development towns.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in other cities throughout Israel, with 8,000 demonstrating in Modi'in, 7,000 in Netanya, 5,000 in Petah Tikva, 3,500 in Hod Hasharon, 2,500 in Ramat Hasharon, 2,000 in Rosh Pina, 1,500 in Rishon Letzion, 1,500 in Eilat, 1,500 in Dimona and 1,500 in Nahariya.