Following an eight-week break, a massive protest for economic justice is expected to take place Saturday in Tel Aviv. The protest’s organizers are demanding that the Knesset rewrite the 2012 budget “taking into account the demands of the people.”
Organizers predict the protest, which is scheduled for 9 p.m. local time in Tel Aviv, will be the largest since the protest movement began in mid-July, Agence France-Presse reported.
The last rally took place on September 3, when nearly half a million Israelis took part in demonstrations across the country against the soaring cost of living and house prices.
Israeli journalist Bradley Burston says that the protesters are questioning resource allocation and sacred cows like the defense budget and settlements.
Even though the Israeli parliament recently outlined a number of economic reforms, the protesters are not satisfied because the proposals may – or may not – lead to change.
“It requires legislation which will come up in the next parliamentary session,” he said. “More than that, there is a sense that some of the immediate response to the social protests, [like] the widespread lowering of prices by the major-marketing chains, for example, are being lost in a retrenchment: a policy of raising prices quietly back.”
The Israeli government, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with building new settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, and Burston believes that without proper scrutiny it will be much more difficult to stop the behind-the-scenes allocation of resources to new housing developments in the occupied territories.
“The questioning has a lot to do with transparency, with what actually is happening with the resources that are going to defense and are going to the settlements,” he said. “Even if the settlement activity is not blocked, the fact of the widespread nature of allocations and subsidies that go out to the settlements may change people’s minds eventually about the wisdom of continuing to build there.”