300,000 Join Israeli Housing Protests

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JERUSALEM, Aug. 6 (UPI) — About 300,000 people around Israel joined protests Saturday against the government’s housing policy and the high cost of living in the country.

The turnout was about twice what it was July 30, The Jerusalem Post reported. The biggest rally was in Tel Aviv, where the crowd was estimated at 280,000.

The Knesset or Parliament approved a law Wednesday that transfers the approval of new construction projects by regional committees. Protest organizers said that would bring new people to the rallies.

Itzik Shmuli, head of the Israeli National Union of Students, said the protests are not aimed at bringing down the government.

“We are young people who are demanding a change in the cruel economic policies,” he said. “We are demanding a personal economy over one that tramples, we are demanding an economy that takes into consideration the suffering of people and not one that only crunches numbers.”

Rabbi Beni Lau, who also spoke in Tel Aviv, said protesters “want to found a state based on social justice.” Lau said the Israeli tent “has room for all.”

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