The Shmooze

Young Israelis Camp Out for Housing Reform

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share

Israelis traditionally fill their city squares during warm summer nights. This week, young Israelis in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities are doing just that — but they’re not going home at the end of the night.

Israel’s “cottage cheese revolution,” having spurred a number of economic protests, has now led to a young people’s revolt against the high cost of housing. The National Students Union has joined with other young citizens’ groups and individuals in a mass camp-out demonstration on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard begun by a young woman named Daphni Leef.

At first, it seemed that the young people were decrying the fact that housing prices were too high in hip Tel Aviv, where so many students and young professionals wish to live. Young people had also slept in sleeping bags in Zion Square in downtown Jerusalem last Friday night.

But now that the tent compounds are springing up around the country in locations such as Beer-Sheva in the south and Kiryat Shemona in the far north, as well as in the more centrally located Kfar Sava and Netanya, it is clear that young people all over the country feel similarly about the scarcity of housing and its rising cost.

The atmosphere at the Tel Aviv site was reportedly festive at first, but it soon turned more serious — and combative — as participants, supporters and visiting politicians began debating policy options for ameliorating the situation. While Opposition MKs such as Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Dov Khenin (Hadash) were warmly welcomed by crowd, some Likud MK’s from the country’s governing coalition were booed when they showed up. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had beer poured on him, and his deputy, Assaf Zamir, was pelted with eggs.

The protesters claim there are no lack of suggestions and proposals for bringing rental and purchase prices down, but rather a lack of will to do something about the problem. Many would like to see the government intervene in the housing market by legislating caps on rental fees and requirements for contractors to set aside a certain amount of affordable housing units.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who lives the well-appointed PM’s residence (next door to the Gilad Shalit vigil tent) has invited the protesters to pull up stakes at their tent cities to come to Jerusalem to help him pass housing reform legislation. According to him, supply doesn’t currently meet demand because of that famous Israeli phenomenon known as “bureaucratia.”

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Real Estate, Protest, Jerusalem, Israel, Tel Aviv

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel:
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.