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Thousands of housing activists protests held in cities across Israel

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Thousands of housing activists protests held in cities across Israel

Thousands of housing protesters march in Haifa, July 26, 2011 (Hagai Fried)

Housing activists, who reject Netanyahu's plan to solve the housing crisis, rally in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva, chanting "Bibi go home" and "we want justice."

After rejecting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan  to solve Israel's housing crisis, activists continued to protest across the country on Tuesday 26 July.

Approximately two thousand activists marched in Haifa, chanting "Bibi go home" and "we want justice, not charity." Elderly residents cheered the young protesters as they passed by.

Thousands of housing activists protests held in cities across Israel

The tent protest in Tel Aviv (Activestills)

At a Jerusalem tent protest site activists put on shows, with one theatrical piece featuring Netanyahu covered in mud. Actor Mariano Edelman (from the satirical show "Eretz Nehederet) came to the tent city in Tel Aviv dressed as the prime minister. In central Ashdod dozens of protesters held signs that read "I have a right to live in my city" and "the entire country is covered with tents, and only Bibi has houses." In Be'er Sheva, three protesters were arrested after trying to block a road, and In south Tel Aviv dozens of activists blocked Etzel street.

Earlier on Tuesday, protestors dismissed Netanyahu's latest response to the protests, saying that he was only trying to create divisions within the protesters by offering discounts only to students.

Netanyahu’s Housing Plan: Only a Partial Solution to the Crisis

The Coalition for Affordable Housing, of which ACRI is a member, is pleased that the government finally responded to the public demand to address the housing crisis . However, the coalition warns that the plan does not provide comprehensive solutions on all housing issues.
 
Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, Coordinator of ACRI’s Right to Housing Project : “It appears the demonstrations have helped spark a change in perception; nonetheless, the government has yet to espouse the central message: this is not a struggle of one sector or another, but a broad social struggle. Affordable housing is a universal right and it is the State’s responsibility to ensure that every person is able to realize this right.”
 
Main points for improvement in the plan presented today by Netanyahu: 

  • Addressing all sectors of society, not just “young couples”:
    The proposals address young couples and students but Israeli households also include senior citizens, single-parent families, and singles. Arab citizens of Israel that do not own land (estimated at 30% of the entire Arab sector) experience serious housing problems and there is no rental or sales market in their areas of residence.
  • Initiatives must be anchored in legislation that is both detailed and backed by allocated budgets :

Amendment to the Israel Lands Authority Law; the inclusion of a chapter on affordable housing in the new planning law; legislation for regulating the rental market and anchoring the eligibility for rent assistance; and the “thawing” of the public housing law, which was frozen in the economic Omnibus Law. 

  •  The expediting of the construction process must be done responsibly by adding regulations to the planning process, including consultants on social issues.

Coalition for Affordable Housing: