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Israelis call for ‘demo of one million’

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, September 2, 2011 7:50 EDT
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Israeli activists have called for a “demonstration of one million” people as part of their ongoing protest movement against rising costs of living in the Jewish state, organisers said Friday.

It will be held Saturday evening across Israel, the organisers said.

“We are actually counting on rallying hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, knowing that the goal of one million or one-seventh of the country’s population could be unrealistic,” one of the organisers, Hadas Kushlevitch, told AFP.

With the slogan of “demonstration of one million”, the organisers hope to do as well or better than the August 6 rally when 300,000 Israelis took to the streets, mainly in Tel Aviv.

That rally was the biggest demonstration for a social cause in the history of the state of Israel, which has a population of 7.7 million.

Since then they have held similar protests in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities for “social justice” which they charge has been denied by the government.

Only some 20,000 gathered in Tel Aviv last Saturday with organisers blaming tension in southern Israel, a target of dozens of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, for the poor turnout.

“We have made very specific demands in terms of necessary budget increases for education, health and housing, but so far no concrete steps have been taken” by the government, another organiser, Uri Metuki, told AFP.

Protesters complain that in the past 20 years in particular public construction of affordable housing has virtually ceased in Tel Aviv, while large sums were invested in the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Under social pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a commission to examine a package of reforms.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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