Home > Rubriques > Languages - International > English > Activists’ demands to Israeli government : lower taxes, free (...)

Un certain “4 août” en Israël (ndlr)

Activists’ demands to Israeli government : lower taxes, free education and end to privatization

Mercredi, 3 août 2011 - 11h45 AM

Wednesday 3 August 2011


mercredi 3 août 2011, par Efraim Davidi

After setting up joint protest headquarters on Tuesday, representatives of the 40 tent encampments scattered across Israel, students and youth groups released an agreement they had reached and guidelines for negotiating with the government. Also : protests continue across the country with activists blocking roads.

The demands include lowering indirect taxes, canceling the national housing committees bill, free education starting at the age of three months and increasing the Housing Ministry’s assistance budget to mortgages and rent.

The activists also demand steps be taken in the health care system, such as more positions for medical staff, more beds, medical equipment that upholds the standards for OECD countries, an end to the privatization of welfare institutions and mental health centers and a commitment to a gradual cancellation of contractual work in the public center.

Following is a list of partial demands included in the “Guidelines for a new social-economical order” document :

• Reducing indirect taxes

• Investing tax collection surpluses in citizens via state budget

• Canceling the national housing committees bill

• Increasing the Construction and Housing Ministry’s budget on mortgages and rent, and increasing government aid

• Applying the Free Compulsory Education law to kids from age of three months

• Adding job posts, beds, medical equipment and infrastructures nationwide to match the OECD standard

• Halting privatization of welfare and mental health institutes

• Gradual cancellation of contractual work in the public sector

The National Union of Israeli Students stressed that the list constitutes an agenda for the negotiations, therefore there is no mention of numbers and costs. However, during the meeting in Tel Aviv the organizers said that a final document is being drafted, one that will include clauses and numbers.

Meanwhile, approximately 150 people gathered on Tuesday evening at Bilu Junction near Rehovot to protest the high costs of raising a family in Israel, occasionally blocking the junctions. In Hod Hasharon about a hundred fathers, mothers and children took part in a “stroller march.” Around 200 demonstrators marched yesterday night in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhoods as a token of support with the housing crisis protest. Among them : representatives from Israel’s many basketball and soccer teams. The demonstrators held signs with slogans calling for social justice and against the government.

Hundreds demonstrated outside of the Knesset on Tuesday evening against the discussion Wednesday of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new housing law, which they claim does not have enough provisions for public housing and ensuring that the new housing will be affordable instead of luxury housing. Chanting “The people wants social justice !” hundreds from the Jerusalem tent city in Gan Hasus (Horse Park) marched to the Wohl Rose Park, where they were joined by buses of protesters from as far away as Kiryat Shmona, on the Lebanese border.

Today (Wednesday) morning, hundreds of affordable housing protest activists rallied outside the Knesset Wednesday ahead of a planned vote on Prime Minister national housing committees’ bill. The affordable housing movement has vowed to escalate its protest measures should the bill, which they have slammed as manipulative mature into a law. Protesters block all of the entrances to the Knesset building in an attempt to stop the Parliament from voting on the bill, saying they will siege the Knesset if they have to.

The Histadrut (Federattion of Labor in Israel) on Tuesday announced that it will convene tomorrow a mass assembly in Tel-Aviv to support people protesting against the high cost of living in the country. Dozens of unions and twenty thousands of people are expected to gather in front of the Histadrut building in Arlozoroff Street where a rally expressing solidarity with the protesters will be held. Histradrut Chairman Ofer Eini on Sunday met with organizers of the protests in efforts to further consolidate their demands.

In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Secretary General Eini, acknowledged that the union does not lead this social struggle, but stated outright that if the purpose of protesters is to overthrow the Netanyahu government, “the Histradut would not participate”. Hadash fraction in the Histadrut demand for general strike in solidarity with the working-class and popular protest an against the neo-liberal government.

At the same time of the Histadrut assembly, they will be three large demonstrations in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva by junior staff lecturers in the universities and school teachers, for public education and against privatization.

(Mercredi, 03 août 2011)