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Israeli Students Angry About Economy

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 30 (UPI) — Israeli student protests over rising tuition and the economy have spread from Tel Aviv to at least a half-dozen other cities, officials said.

The protests started small about two weeks ago in Tel Aviv, the Israel capital, but the number of tents along the city’s Rothschild Boulevard is growing, and protests are popping up in other cities, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Thousands of people marched in Tel Aviv Saturday in support of protesters calling for the Israeli government to take action.

Housing prices in Tel Aviv jumped nearly 50 percent from 2008 to 2010, government figures said, with rents increasing nationwide by 20 percent. Rents in Tel Aviv climbed by 30 percent in the first three months of 2010. Education costs have risen dramatically as well, students said.

Income hasn’t kept pace and the situation is seen by many as one of the major issues faced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“There’s no quick, populist solution,” said government spokesman Mark Regev. “The challenge of the government is to create a larger supply in a short period of time.”

He said Netanyahu’s plan is to free up more land for private development.

“The prime minister believes competition will drive down prices,” Regev said.

Haaretz said tent cities have sprung up in several cities across the country in recent weeks. Protests were scheduled Saturday for several cities, including Tel Aviv.

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