Social Protest Continues as Lawmakers Discuss Panel's Recommendations

Tent protest movement to appeal Court decision allowing Tel Aviv to dismantle encampments around the city.

A few dozen protesters marched in Jerusalem on Monday in an attempt to put pressure on the Knesset to meet their demands for lowering the cost of living in Israel. The march was held at the same time the Knesset met in a special recess session to discuss the recommendations of the Trajtenberg committee on socioeconomic change.

The demonstrators marched from Hasus Park in the center of the capital, next to the former home of the Knesset and the site of the main tent protest camp in Jerusalem, to the Rose Garden across from the Knesset, where they held a demonstration. They disrupted traffic, but the police were out in advance and in force and quickly restored order.

Protesters Knesset - Olivier Fitoussi - 20092011
Olivier Fitoussi

The protesters shouted slogans and sang songs, such as "We will not fight over the crumbs, we will fight to enlarge the budgetary pie," as they called on MKs and committee members to increase the budgetary framework. The Jerusalem protesters were joined by Stav Shaffir and Daphni Leef, two of the leaders of the Tel Aviv tent protests.

On Tuesday the heads of the tent protest movement in Tel Aviv are expected to appeal the Tel Aviv District Court's decision to allow the Tel Aviv Municipality to dismantle the encampments around the city, starting Wednesday afternoon. The activists and their lawyers unanimously decided to appeal on Monday, but the activists say they are continuing to negotiate with city hall in an attempt to reach a compromise on leaving some of the tents in place.

The city has agreed not to evacuate the tents as long as the negotiations continue, said Roi Neuman, the spokesman for the protesters. But the protesters see the appeal as important in principle, he added.

Tent protesters in the encampment in the park on Levinsky Street in south Tel Aviv said city employees and police came to dismantle tents on Monday. They also claimed the police used violence.

The city said a number of municipal employees came to the tent camp Monday after the municipality had received information that the protesters had illegally connected to an electrical cable hooked up to a nearby apartment. The city said the cable was strung in a manner that endangered the inhabitants of the tents, and city inspectors came to disconnect the electricity and not to remove the tents. Protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails on the city workers from within the tent camp, the municipality said.

Police arrested 12 protesters at the site and another two were arrested later when they demonstrated outside the police station.