Protesters formulate wide-ranging demands

A new initiative is emerging at several tent protests around the country, calling for a million-man march in early September.

The tent protest leaders are formulating concrete demands. This afternoon, they convened to write a document of principles as a basis for negotiations with government representatives.

After meeting Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini yesterday, the protest leaders today met a Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) team to put their demands into writing. Sources at the protest headquarters said that the leaders will sit down until the "white smoke" is signaled. Meanwhile, different leaders and organizations are exchanging dozens of position papers.

Drafts include the following demands: withdraw the national housing committees bill in its present wording, allocate substantial budgets for subsidizing rental apartments, rent control, setting criteria for affordable housing, and the promotion of public housing projects.

Possible additional demands include suspending the privatization of government companies, tight supervision of salaries and enforcement of labor laws, change the breakdown of taxes to 30% indirect taxes and 70% direct taxes, and increase taxes on the rich.

The protest headquarters said that, today and tomorrow, protests will focus on withdrawing the national housing committees bill, although this is not yet an official remand and it will take time to turn it into one.

Sources said that several drafts have been written, and that at each protest center people are trying to formulate specific demands. Later, the student leaders and representatives of the tent protest at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard are due to meet to coordinate their demands, after which they will sit with the other organizations.

A new initiative is emerging at several tent protests around the country, calling for a million-man march in early September. Anar Navon is organizing this initiative, which has already obtained 17,000 RSVPs on its Facebook page.

Navon, a 40 year-old high-tech man said, "I personally came up with the idea, without outside coordination or financing. There is a need for continuity, to deepen the protest so that it will be clear that it will grow and last a long time. This will be the last Saturday of the summer, and it is important that there will be something to carry on the momentum. We're not talking about a mere million-man march; we're encouraging the entire nation of Israel to leave home carrying signs where they want to go. It's possible to go into the streets, to go to the city centers. It's important for aerial photographs to show Israel's streets full of people. Everyone from every sector will come with their problems. The entire working class will do its share."

In response to remarks demeaning the protesters at a Likud party meeting yesterday, MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) today denied that the government was denigrating the protesters. "We need a free market with social sensitivity," he said.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 2, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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