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Middle East
Israeli protesters march over housing costs
Tens of thousands of demonstrators rally in Tel Aviv to protest against rising housing prices and social inequalities.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2011 05:31
Israelis hold a sign calling for Netanyahu to 'go home' during a march to protest against social inequality [AFP]

Tens of thousands of Israelis have marched in the coastal city of Tel Aviv to protest against rising housing prices and social inequalities.

Demonstrators from all over Israel rallied in support of hundreds of people who have set up protest camps against the government's economic and social policies.

Marchers brandished banners and slogans on Saturday which read "We want justice, not charity" and "When the government is against the people, the people are against the government."

The movement has gathered steam in recent days with protesters pitching tent camps across the country, including in Jerusalem, Beer Sheva and Ashdod.

Right-wing deputies accuse the left-leaning opposition of manipulating the demonstrators.

Since 2004, Israel's economic growth rate has averaged 4.5 per cent, while unemployment has fallen to around six per cent from close to 11 per cent over the same period.

But public disgruntlement is growing, fuelled by almost-daily revelations of social inequality, injustice and corruption.

"Today, it takes on average about one million shekels ($295,000) to buy an apartment in Israel," Eli Melloul, a property agent, told the AFP news agency.

"In one year, the average [purchase] price of housing has jumped 32 per cent in Tel Aviv, and 17 per cent in Jerusalem."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to address the housing problem by streamlining planning and building procedures, and promoting low-rent accommodation.

Source:
Agencies
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