JERUSALEM, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Organizers say they hope protests across Israel Saturday will bring out more than 200,000 demonstrators angry at the government over housing and other issues.
Roee Neuman, spokesman for the tent city protest movement, said the size and fervor of the protests would be influenced by the Knesset’s approval Wednesday of the national housing committees law, a key issue for the protesters, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.
The bill provides that every district have a special committee authorized to discuss residential construction plans involving at least 200 units.
“The vote on the law was an opportunity for the government to show how important the people are to them — and they said no,” Neuman said. “So it is our right and our responsibility to protest this.””
Protest marches, demonstrations and rallies on housing, the cost of raising children, education policies, fuel and other social and economic issues were conducted across Israel Thursday and Friday.
After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed the protests as “a populist wave,” Social Affairs Minister Moshe Kahlon said they were justified, Haaretz reported.
“People are crying out in pain and we should listen to them,” Kahlon said.
Speaking at a National Insurance Institute conference in Ramat Gan, Kahlon said the Cabinet has the opportunity to advance a social agenda.
“Social justice is based on a fair distribution of taxes and fair means; taking from the strong and giving to the weak, like imposing higher taxes on companies and reducing indirect taxes on the public,” he said.