Cottage Cheese Protesters Call for Total Dairy Boycott

Families spend more than 70% to 80% of their income on food and housing, says protest organizer Benny Gruberman.

The cottage cheese protest is expanding, with organizers now calling on consumers not to eat or drink dairy products for the next week.

Several protesters held a press conference at the Jerusalem branch of the concurrent tent protest, focused on the issue of affordable housing, in order to announce the next stage of their campaign to push down dairy prices.

"We're asking the public not to buy any kind of dairy products for a week, starting today," said Itzik Alrov, one of the organizers. "For those who cannot take part, we ask: If you buy dairy products, buy only the price-controlled ones, which have reasonable prices."

The fight isn't about cottage cheese, it's about the home, said Benny Gruberman, another organizer. "There's no difference between the fight for reasonably priced housing and the fight for reasonably priced food," Gruberman said. "You can't stop eating and you can't stop living somewhere. The average Israeli family is breaking under these expenses."

Families spend more than 70% to 80% of their income on food and housing, he said. The committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address food prices didn't go far enough in its recommendations, he maintains.

"The proposal to reduce the price of a few products by 10% after food prices as a whole went up 50% to 100% is a joke," he said. "Food prices in Israel are so high that they need to be cut by at least 30%."

"We've been protesting for six weeks already," he added. "Public figures are talking about it, MKs from across the political spectrum are offering solutions, the Knesset Research and Information Center already determined that food prices in Israel are very high, government committees are working, dairy farmers are yelling and the public is boiling. The only ones who aren't saying anything and who are continuing to take the public's money are the producers, the importers and the big supermarkets - basically, all those responsible for the markups."