Brain Bush’s Blog

Israelis Pitching Their Tents

  • By : Brian Bush
  • July 26, 2011
  • 9:07 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have been following the surging protests all day and into the night over housing prices here in Israel.

This protest has consumed the country to the point that last night Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu cancelled his scheduled trip to Poland and prepared to make a public address to the nation today as he has seen his public approval ratings drop from 51% to 32%. A whooping 87% of the public supports the demonstrations.

Hundreds of these people blocked the Knesset, the Prime Ministers Residence, main roads throughout the State and there has been an increase in number of tents pitched throughout the country.

Mr. Netanyahu has obviously been caught off guard and publically called on his ministers for solutions. Housing plans are being formulated, the core of which is land almost for free for developers who build inexpensive housing and build it quickly.

This is a result of the pressure from senior figures from Netanyahu's own Likud Party for fear of losing power if they don't act.

Israel's Finance Minister has been vilified for apparently saying about the demonstrations that 'the situation is excellent, what do they want from me?'.

The wave of protests has taught those who live on high that reality in Israel is not as wonderful as it might appear.

The protests are reminding the Government that Israel's current one is the largest, most inflated, government in Israeli history with close to 40 ministers and deputy ministers – a deliberate action of Netanyahu's who built a political supertanker so he can directly control 1/3 of the whole Knesset.

The Prime Minister, during his tenure, has shelved various socio-economic clauses in the Likud Party platform in order to secure the support of the ultra-orthodox parties, the interests of which are far narrower, in order to secure their support in forming the present Government coalition. It's a system that has now backfired on him for ignoring the great majority of those who bear the national burden.

So what was Netanyahu's presentation to turn things around? Build 50,000 new homes and 10,000 student dormitories for cheap. Well… the public at large flat out rejected that. They said they weren't born yesterday and want justice and not charity.

Netanyahu's speach has been described as a panicked solution that will create more problems than it will solve.

Bottom line is that the Israeli middle class is tired of having to support non-working sectors while not being able to pay their rent – and the Government must act.

We'll keep you informed – tune in tomorrow to the Harvest Show where I will be bringing you an update on this story and more from Jerusalem!

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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