Rothschild tent city - Moti Milrod - July 2011
The tent protest site on Rothschild Boulevard, July 2011. Photo by Moti Milrod
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The organizers of the tent protest yesterday added two demands of the Arab community to the list of demands they are drafting for the committee appointed by the prime minister to deal with their grievances.

Arabs are demanding state recognition of the unrecognized villages throughout the country, especially the Bedouin communities in the Negev, and the approval of master plans that would expand local authorities' jurisdiction, to enable construction.

"These are two fundamental issues and I hope the protest organizers, who support them, will insist on them. The Arab community's main problem is the terrible housing shortage due to the absence of territory to build on," Hadash secretary general Ayman Odeh said.

Odeh and several other Arab activists met with the protest organizers at their headquarters in the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in the last few days, debating issues regarding the Arab public.

A few days ago, Arab activists set up an encampment in the center of Taibeh and hundreds of people visit it every night.

"This is a social protest stemming from profound distress in the Arab community. All Arabs suffer from the cost of living and housing shortages," one of the organizers, Dr. Zoheir Tibi, said.

A number of Druze youngsters set up tents outside the villages of Yarka and Julis in the Western Galilee.

"We're trying to draw everyone to the tents to join the protest," said Wajdi Khatar, one of the protest initiators.

Jewish and Arab activists are organizing a large demonstration in the Upper Galilee's Kabri junction tomorrow.

"We're fighting for everything, from apartments to the rising price of electricity, said Gadi Shabtai, one of the organizers. "In the last few days, I've been receiving calls from Jews and Arabs who support the struggle and I hope this is reflected in tomorrow's demonstration."