The housing protests which are sweeping Israel, turning Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv into a makeshift tent city and reviving youth discussions of civil society, are also revealing deeper fractures within Israeli society. A Times op-ed today, written by contributors to +972 Magazine, links the lack of affordable housing in Israel with the cost of maintaining and building settlements.
The protests, which the writers argue are neutralized enough to attract a large, diverse following, face a deadline with the proposed September Palestinian statehood vote in the U.N. “Before September comes,” they write, “the protesters must first secure some more earthly achievements, like rent control in Israel’s larger cities, or perhaps, as the placards demand, even bring down Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition government.”
An editorial at the Jerusalem Post calls the protestors’ demands more populist than serious, adding that the wide-ranging guidelines presented by the protestors are without timetables or cost estimates. Etgar Keret cautioned similarly this week in Tablet, urging the middle class protestors to adopt a clear message. Over at Haaretz, the protests are classified as a boon for the Israeli right. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the housing protests will be, but it is clear that this surge of activism will indeed prove to have powerful ripple effects throughout Israeli society.
In Israel, The Rent is Too Damn High [NYT]
The Protestor’s Demands [Jerusalem Post]
The Israeli left is looking at the tent protest with envy and hope [Haaretz]
Related: In The Middle