Knesset to Hold Emergency Session as Israel's Social Protest Grows

Hundreds of pensioners protest in Tel Aviv; non-profit organizations to hold emergency conference and present their demands.

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The Knesset has decided to break temporarily from its summer recess and hold a special session to discuss the growing social protests across Israel, at the request of the opposition parties.

The session will take place either this Wednesday or on the following Monday. Some members of the opposition, are pushing to convene the meeting next week in order to keep the protests alive.

Pensioners protesting in Tel Aviv hold banner reading 'millions of pensioners demand social justice', August 8, 2011Credit: Nir Kafri

Hundreds of pensioners staged a protest at the Tel Aviv government compound (Kiryat Hamemshala) on Monday, demanding the government lower medicine costs, cancel VAT on basic necessities and prevent a cut in their pensions.

The head of the pensioners' union. Gideon Ben Yisrael, said the pensioners identify with the nation-wide social struggle but demand specific solutions to their sector's problem.

Shlomo, a pensioner from Ashkelon, said that "the last time I protested was in 1947 against the British open your eyes, look at what is happening around you – its a terrible thing." Another speaker at the protest said: "The youth and the pensioners will oust Bibi Netanyahu together."

Dozens of non-profit and social organizations will hold an emergency conference on Wednesday present their demands. Giora Rozen, head of the umbrella organization of non-profit groups in Israel, said that "most of the organizations represent the lower strata of society, therefore there can't be a solution without dealing with Israel's poor population together with civil society organizations."

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