Close

Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter




Premium access provided by ENSTA

Your premium access provided by ENSTA

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by NRC Q

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to NRC Q.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by EM-LYON

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to EM-LYON.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Goldsmiths

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Goldsmiths.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Worldcrunch HQ

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Worldcrunch HQ.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MINES Alès Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to MINES Alès Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by ESCP Europe Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to ESCP Europe Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by IONIS Education Group

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to IONIS Education Group.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by SOAS University of London

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to SOAS University of London.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Contact Expats

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Contact Expats.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by The Australian Financial Review

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to The Australian Financial Review.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Stabsstelle Alumni, Career service and Fundraising

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Stabsstelle Alumni, Career service and Fundraising.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Sciences Po Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Sciences Po Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by TBS Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to TBS Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MinnPost

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 6 months thanks to MinnPost.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin

Worldcrunch

Is Israel Starting To Feel A Touch Of Arab Spring?

A period of relative calm on the security front has given way to rising frustrations among about long-ignored economic problems. The result has been a series of online – and on the streets – protests.

Article illustrative image Partner logo Tel Aviv, Israel

TEL AVIV – Along Rothschild Boulevard, the most urbane thoroughfare in Tel Aviv, hundreds of students and young couples have been camping out since last week in an ongoing protest for improved housing conditions. The atmosphere is friendly. Neighbors bring the demonstrators food. Artists parade to show their support.

“The 18-square-meter-basement I live in doesn’t have a window and my rent is at $975 a month. Is that fair?” says Oren Sabiani, one of the leaders of the protest, which was organized via Facebook. “People are tired of being in the red and of not being able to make plans for the future. They are tired of seeing the government only interested in what happens in Iran rather than in the daily lives of its own people.”

Protestors and their tents are popping up in other Israeli cities as well. And they appear to have the support of the press. Columnist Ben Caspit, who writes for the daily Maariv, laments that “the government invested billions of dollars in the development of the settlements, and neglected to develop the country itself.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly understood that Israel’s “indignados” – as the local press has taken to calling them – could be a political danger. The original indignados rose to prominence earlier this year in Spain. The prime minister received some of the Israeli protestors this past Monday. With television cameras rolling, he promised to speed up administrative procedures for future public housing programs. Netanyahu acknowledged, nevertheless, that his efforts aren’t likely to produce immediate results.

According to Linda, a student at the University of Tel Aviv, “politicians are falling over each other to keep us in the fold. But we won’t be fooled again. Our fight will last as long as it takes because we have nothing to lose.”

Dairy fight

Social movements of this kind are rare in Israel. The last major movement took place between 1969 and 1974, when the Sephardim (Jews hailing from the Mediterranean countries) created the Israel Black Panthers organization and protested violently against the Ashkenazi Establishment (European Jews) who they claimed kept them in poverty.

These past few weeks, however, Israeli citizens have thrown away their legendary inertia and decided to launch some large-scale actions. In early July, organized again via Facebook, tens of thousands of customers participated in a boycott of the country’s three main dairy products companies, which critics accuse of artificially raising cottage cheese price. The boycott also hurt big retail chains.

The government responded by promising to lower prices by encouraging competition and by allowing European dairy products to be imported in the country. The fact that the government reacted at all was hailed as a major victory for the boycotters. The leaders of both the dairy industry and major supermarkets enjoy close ties with political leaders.

Emboldened by the dairy protest, frustrated Israelis quickly put together other Facebook pages complaining about the high price of diapers, powdered milk and even the price of the new Samsung smartphone, which was reduced significantly overnight.

“It’s not surprising to see these movements developing now, because the security situation is rather calm,” says Keren Marciano, an economics reporter. “People don’t feel as threatened by the outside world right now, so they begin to focus on what had previously been left aside, that is, problems within the country. A wave of revolt has begun to sweep through Israel…and it’s not likely to subside any time soon.”

Read the original article in French

Photo - Yoni Lerner

Sign up for our Worldcrunch Weekly newsletter now


Be a part of the conversation. Click to show comments
About this article source Website: http://www.letemps.ch/

Based in Geneva, Le Temps ("The Times") is one of Switzerland's top French-language dailies. It was founded in 1998 as a merger among various newspapers: Journal de Geneve, Gazette de Lausanne and Le Nouveau Quotidien.

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin


By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.