Activists' Demands to Israeli Government: Lower Taxes, Free Education and End to Privatization

Demands also include reform in health care system and government involvement mortgages and rent; scattered protests continue across the country with activists blocking roads.

After setting up joint protest headquarters on Tuesday, representatives of the 40 tent encampments scattered across Israel, students and youth groups released an agreement they had reached and guidelines for negotiating with the government.

The demands include lowering indirect taxes, canceling the national housing committees bill, free education starting at the age of three months and increasing the Housing Ministry's assistance budget to mortgages and rent.

Tel Aviv housing protest
Ofer Vaknin

The activists also demand steps be taken in the health care system, such as more positions for medical staff, more beds, medical equipment that upholds the standards for OECD countries, an end to the privatization of welfare institutions and mental health centers and a commitment to a gradual cancellation of contractual work in the public center.

The National Union of Israeli Students stressed that the list constitutes an agenda for the negotiations, therefore there is no mention of numbers and costs. However, during the meeting in Tel Aviv the organizers said that a final document is being drafted, one that will include "clauses and numbers."

Meanwhile, approximately 150 people gathered on Tuesday evening at Bilu Junction near Rehovot to protest the high costs of raising a family in Israel, occasionally blocking the junctions. In Hod Hasharon about a hundred fathers, mothers and children took part in a "stroller march," and in Jerusalem dozens of people protested in front of the Knesset and the Supreme Court.

Also on Tuesday, opposition leader Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Channel 2. "Netanyahu is acting in an arrogant and indifferent manner." She added that what is happening in the streets is a brave and unprecedented social process.