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Protests continue in Israel despite Netanyahu's housing plan


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Protests continue in Israel despite Netanyahu's housing plan

2011-07-28 05:21:13 GMT+7 (ICT)

JERUSALEM (BNO NEWS) -- Israeli demonstrators on Wednesday took to the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to protest surging real-estate prices and the housing shortage in the country despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed plan to solve the crisis.

Haaretz newspaper reported that some 200 protesters marched in Jerusalem from their tent site that was set up to protest the high rent prices in the center of the city toward Prime Minister Netanyahu's residence, blocking major roads on their way. They hung a "For Sale" sign on the residence, protesting that the Netanyahu family currently holds three homes.

In Tel Aviv, some 300 protesters marched toward the second tent site in the southern part of the city. Ofer Eini, the head of Israel's Histadrut National Labor Federation, told leaders of the housing protests in Tel Aviv that the labor organization will be joining their struggle starting Sunday and intends on taking part in the protesters' discussions with the government.

The meeting came several hours after Eini issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that the Histadrut would take all possible measures to help the housing struggle unless Netanyahu invites the organization to discuss solutions for the troubles of Israel's lower and middle classes by Saturday night.

"Over the last month, I have met with the Finance Minister and the Industry, Trade and Labor Minister and I said, 'Let's get together.' We also made a written request to find a solution, and unfortunately we did not get a response. The protest got underway," Eini said.

The protest continued despite Netanyahu's program to solve the crisis, which was proposed on Tuesday. Under the proposed plan, there will be a 50 percent discount in price of land designated for the construction of apartments.

According to the Jerusalem Post, other initiatives include the construction of 10,000 new dormitory units for students and discounts on public transportation fares for students.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed ministers of his party for not trying to solve the housing crisis that gave rise to the mass nationwide protests. Netanyahu's remarks came after a heated exchange between Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan that revolved another looming socio-economic crisis – the rising price of electricity.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-07-28

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