Some 1,000 in Jerusalem Block Entrance to Knesset to Protest Housing Crisis

Jerusalem demonstration comes after first major protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday; protesters move their 'tent city' to face Knesset building.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Following Saturday's mass housing protest in Tel Aviv, some 1,000 people marched Sunday through Jerusalem and blocked the entrance to the Knesset.

The protesters, who had been residing in tents in Jerusalem's IDF Square, folded up their tents and started setting up their new protest center in front of the Knesset.

Israelis hold a cardboard house during a march in Jerusalem to protest against rising housing prices on July 24, 2011.Credit: AFP

On their way, the protesters passed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence and tried to block a nearby street while calling on Netanyahu to resign. They were consequently scattered by police forces and continued marching to the Knesset.

The protesters, who caused serious traffic disruptions in central Jerusalem, chanted slogans and held signs such as "The People Demand Social Justice" and "Welfare State Now."

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in downtown Tel Aviv, the first major demonstration in a movement calling attention to Israel's soaring cost of living.

The march followed the "tent city" protests that had erupted throughout Israel, in which mainly young people moved into tents in cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and Kiryat Shmona to protest housing prices.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked Likud ministers on Sunday for not trying to solve the housing crisis that gave rise to the mass nationwide protests.

Sources close to Netanyahu said he is extremely frustrated by the Likud ministers' lack of cooperation, not only in trying to find solutions but also for not defending the government in media interviews.

Netanyahu also said that he identified with demonstrators protesting high housing prices, and he had been aware of the problem for years.

"Even before I became prime minister," Netanyahu said, "I asked the 100-day team [a committee focused on economic transition] headed by [Finance Minister] Steinitz to create a plan for the housing problem.

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