In Israel thousands take industrial action in Tel Aviv in protest against the government. The protest follows a wave of massive demonstrations over rising house prices and the escalating cost of living.
At least 23,000 people have joined a Facebook group, calling for a general strike on Monday. The protesters are expected to show up at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park to “sit and talk about social justice.”
Israeli municipalities supported the move, going on a one-day strike on Monday. They did not accept visitors, did not clean the streets and did not collect rubbish.
This comes as the Israeli government is trying to quell growing tensions among its population. On Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an informal meeting of the Committee on Economic Concentration to discuss possible solutions to the crisis, but no decision has been made, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Netanyahu also decided to set up a special government panel to negotiate with the protesters.
The government has come up with a plan to provide affordable housing to young couples, university students and newly discharged soldiers.
It has also announced a reduction on gas prices for a period of one month and made a decision to double the home-heating grant for senior citizens in cold areas.
However, the measures outlined by the Netanyahu government are not enough as Noa Arazi from the Israeli social movement ‘The National Left’ says, and adds that the best thing Netanyahu can do now is to resign.
“I think this current government is not the answer to what we are looking for. Its neo-liberal economic measurements and way of thinking is benefiting the wrong people, the six strong families in the Israeli economy, but it’s not benefiting the people,” she said.
“I believe we will see more demonstrations. I believe we will hear more specific and more well-organized ideas about how we should change things and who we want to see our future. We will demonstrate until someone hears us and something changes. I hope it will go to the election,” Arazi added.
“We want a better distribution of wealth”
Yoni Shadmi, one of the organizers of the mass protests in Tel Aviv says the demonstrators hope to change the “dysfunctional capitalism,” which has been used in Israel for at least a decade.
“Under the Netanyahu regime and other former prime ministers more and more people have become poorer, while small groups of families have become ultra-rich. We want a better distribution of wealth and a better economy,” he explains.
Shadmi points out that Netanyahu has a very strict, very clear, economic ideology, which is“extremely radical.”
“I don’t think Netanyahu can really change his scheme. He believes that this economy is working. Only the people are telling him ‘no, that’s not working’.”
According to Shadmi, the government should raise the taxes on the super rich and lower the taxes on the rest of the population.