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PHOTOS: 150,000 march for social justice across Israel

This post has been updated.

Huge protests in cities across Israel signal they are a growing political force

The housing and social protests tonight reached a huge crescendo, with throngs flooding streets in over 10 cities across the country Israel. Haaretz is reporting roughly 150,000 people around the country in Hebrew (most conservative estimate in the morning papers belongs to the pro-Netanyahu free paper, Israel Hayom: 100,000 protesters).

Compared to the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 who demonstrated last week, the number of protesters around the country may have more than quadrupled.

In Tel Aviv, the roar of frenzied euphoria mixed with anger preceded the crowd as the parade rounded a major intersection on its way to the Tel Aviv museum. Screams of “revolution” were echoed all over the country. Estimates speak of 10,000 in Jerusalem, similar numbers in Haifa and Beer Sheva, along with demonstrations in Kiryat Shmona, Nazareth, Ashdod several other locations.

Like last week, the Tel Aviv demonstration ended with a large and loud sit-in at a major traffic intersection (Dizengoff and Kaplan streets); police formed human chains to block streets, mounted police appeared, and eventually called to break up the protesters. Eight were arrested and released in the following morning.

At first glance, it appeared that the crowd’s demands were not significantly different from last week. The main rallying cry was still: “The people! Want! Social justice!” with a generous dose of “Bibi go home,” as well as anti-capitalism, pro-welfare state slogans, all laced with dripping sarcasm along the lines of: “The market is free, but we’re slaves.”

Over the last two weeks, the protests have been criticized as unfocused and lacking concrete demands. Tonight there were new signs of a plan taking shape. In the final speeches, after a lineup that included celebrity musicians, the organizers wrapped up with several quite specific demands. In what sounded very much like an ultimatum, they said that Netanyahu has until Wednesday, the day the Knesset goes on recess, to do two things: Withdraw the pending law for national housing committees – which they consider deeply damaging  – and prevent the privatization of the Israel Lands Administration, which holds the vast majority of land in Israel.

On Sunday, Netanyahu has announced that a team of ministers would meet the representatives of the protest movement. The director of Israel’s finance ministry has resigned in the morning following the protest, citing the protest among his reasons.

And if the demands are not met? In a not very subtle innuendo, the organizers asked people to take note of the symbols starting to appear – a triangle with the letter “bet” inside it, hinting their intention to form or to join a political party, or at least to the attempt to bring down the government .

Here are some images from the protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, followed by a slideshow of images that caught the eye of 972’s Yossi Gurvitz

March of social Justice, Tel Aviv, June 30 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)

Protesters confront police in Tel Aviv, June 30 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Protesters in Tel Aviv (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Sign on the right reads "Mubarak, Assad, Netanyahu" (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

March pass in the streets of Tel Aviv (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Tel Aviv protest for social justice, June 30 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Tel Aviv protest for social justice, June 30 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Policemen. Sign reads "Netanyahu, You are fired!" (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Policemen. Sign in the back reads: "You are fired!" (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)

Jerusalem protest for social justice, June 30 2011 (Tess Scheflan/ Activestills.org)

Jerusalem protest for social justice, June 30 2011 (Tess Scheflan/ Activestills.org)

Protester detained by police after march for social justice (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)


Shir Harel and Noam Sheizaf contributed to this report

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    1. Bosko

      Yes there is housing shortage and it is terrible for struggling families. Imagine what it would be like if Israel would agree to the 1967 boundaries and 500,000 Jews would have to move from their homes to within the 1967 boundaries. Food for thought …

      Reply to Comment
    2. Eitan

      Even worse if the Israeli ‘social’ movement will decide to arrange its affordable housing on the backs of Palestinians, whether citizens, residents, or people living under a military occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bosko

      … Of course a sensible compromise solution like the one’s offered by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, involving land swaps would prevent a bad situation in Israel from becoming worse. The Arabs would not be worse off either and the occupation would end too.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Amir-Ras

      Bosko: if we only had 7 billion shekels to spend each year on housing projects… gee i wonder what it’d take to free those funds.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras – Good point, I didn’t think of that. But that pre-supposes that if once again Israel retreats, Hamas will just skulk off, we would be able to use 7 billion additional shekels to alliviate the existing housing shortage plus the addituonal 500,000 new ones that we would need.
      Personally, I don’t think Hamas would just go away. Nor do I think that 7 billion shekels would be enough. Certainly not before the proverbial $&@% would hit the fan …
      Of course the land swap compromise WOULD go a long way to at least not make the problems worse.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras – Just to illustrate my point …
      7 billion shekels divided by 500,000 = 1,400 shekels. Assume an average family size of four, that comes to 6,600 shekels per family. How far do you think that would ge to solving the housing problems that would be created?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Zach

      @BOSKO – Sadly, it’s not that easy. It’s like saying “if only every ignorant country around Israel didn’t attack them after the borders were agreed upon…”
      Then we wouldn’t be in a mess like this…

      Reply to Comment
    8. Bosko

      @Zach – You are right. Israel has no easy options. But some options are harder than others.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Amir-Ras

      Bosko: I was just pulling this number out of my nether regions, 7 billion NIS is p. much only the housing and transportation subsidiaries. Israel spends 11% of its GDP annually on ‘security’ and settlements. That’s tens of billions of shekels.

      retreating to the more defensible 1967 borders will not aggravate the housing crisis. quite the contrary.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras – And you think that after withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries, Israel will be able to slash it’s defense budget from 11%? If so, what figure have you in mind?
      Personally, I think Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah would still be there and we don’t yet know where Egypt will end up, or even Syria for that matter.
      Maybe I am very simple minded but I tend to judge things based on past evidence. And the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza brought new wars.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Amir-Ras

      Bosko: I said GDP, not budget. The difference is of tens of billions of NIS.

      I think it will have an immediate impact on Israel’s defense expenditure. Since you’re conservative i’ll also point it that israel will have more funds to prepare to a long-range conflict instead of investing so many resources on colonization, subsidiaries and checkpoints.

      No matter how you spin it, ending the 1967 occupation save a lot of money to the Israeli citizenry. That’s why nobody wants to end it.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras I tried to respond to your post but it seems to be subject to censorship.
      I promise you, I was not rude, racist or impolite. I just included some pertinent cost calculations but I guess dissenting points of view are un acceptable around here. I wish you guys all the best, in agreeing with each other about everything.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Bosko

      I’ll try one last time …
      @Amir-Ras According to Haaretz, Israel spent more than $17 billion to build the “settlements”. If All those existing homes would need to be evacuated in order to make the land Juden rein, the evacuated people would need to be provided with homes. I’ll be even more conservative than before and assume 5 members per family. Then we are talking about 100,000 families and the same number of homes. Let’s assume that each home would cost $200,000 (a gross under estimate in my opinion). So the overall cost would be …
      100,000 X $200,000 = $20,000,000 or $20 billion. And that does not even include additional infrastructure costs.
      We already have housing shortages and you guys are proposing such additional strain on an already strained housing market? I am sorry but that’s not my idea of problem solving. To me that’s pouring oil on fire. What is wrong with the land swap idea? It used to be acceptable to the Israeli left. What has changed?

      Reply to Comment
    14. sh

      @Bosko – what has changed?

      Ongoing, rampant settlement expansion, that’s what. Land swaps are not an option anymore. Look at a map. The settlers could apply for Palestinian citizenship, though.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Bosko

      @Sh – You are kidding, right? Israelis living under the benign rule of Palestinian Arabs? They can’t even treat their own people humanely. How do you think they will treat Jews whom they have been taught to hate from childhood? That’s the best solution you can come up with? I was talking about solving problems, not creating them.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Amir-Ras

      Bosko, can you please quit it with the hate-talk? we get it, you’re an israeli nationalist, that doesn’t mean you can discuss palestinians as if they were bipedal animals.

      Israelis may live under palestinian rule just like Palestinians can (are forced…) to live under Israeli rule.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Mitchell Cohen

      Bosko is not talking hate-talk. He/she is bring up valid questions/points. Besides, if there is any hate talk on this site it is towards Orthodox Jews and the “dreaded” Z word.

      Reply to Comment
    18. All – we try to keep all hate talk off the site. Bosko’s comments are factual and on point. You can check his facts, but it won’t help you to dismiss them as hate talk; if we see it – from any side of the argument – we delete it. If you’re not sure what it looks like, please read our comments policy.

      @Bosko – it’s hard for me to see how you complain of censorship or lack of dissent, when half the comments here are yours. And I definitely don’t agree with some of them!

      Reply to Comment
    19. Amir-Ras

      Dahlia: What is factual about using terms like “Juden Rein” concerning the west bank and the settlements? What’s factual about claiming “they can’t even treat their own people humanely”?

      I don’t care about the facts he cited, I care about the careful usage of demonizing terminology.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Deïr Yassin

      Of course if one is a navel gazing Israeli, there is nothing wrong in saying, as Bosko, about the PALESTINIANS:
      “They can’t even treat their own people humanely blahblahblah Jews whom they’ve been taught to hate from childhood”.
      And I’m pretty sure Bosko knows next to nothing about what Palestinians are taught.
      By the way, Palestinians don’tt have to be taught anything to hate Israel, that State is doing the job just fine by herself.
      But I guess this comment of mine – contrary to Bosko’s – IS actually hatetalk or maybe off topic….

      Reply to Comment
    21. Palestinian

      So they create (are creating) the problem and wonder how they are gonna solve it ? was it the plan from the first beginning ….land swap mmmm “stealing” more fertile land in the North and we give them desert in the South….a 4$ red L size shirt in exchange for a 215$ White L size D&G shirt.
      I agree 500,000 settlers is really a huge number ,I suggest the area close to the West Bank in the North starting from Tel Megido , Avital , Ein Harod Meuhad , Beit Alfa , Reshafim , Ein Hanatsive till the border with Jordan (Kfar Ruppin ), few thousands of ” settlers ” that can be handled easily .I will suggest the next area later its gonna be in the Central area 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    22. Amir-Ras

      “According to Haaretz, Israel spent more than $17 billion to build the “settlements””

      The settlements are more expensive then building within Israel proper. Your math doesn’t take into account the ‘extra-costs’ of maintaining and building the settlements, mostly the outlandish security costs.

      However, while relocating the settlers might be expensive, the price of having them there is also very expensive and keeps getting more expansive, so you have here a classic case of sunk value, the funds invested in the settlements are already sunk and lost, but that it doesn’t mean you won’t lose even more money over time if you try to hold on to them.

      By the way, the construction of a small house costs nowhere near 200,000$ dollars, that is a vast exaggeration. For the purpose of the discussion i’d assume that the cost of relocating the settlers, including infrastructure would not cost more than 7 billion dollars. inventing numbers for the sake of debate is fun, but not really beneficial.

      The housing situation in israel does not benefit from israel subsidizing houses outside its borders.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Bosko

      @Dahlia- I now accept that there was no attempt at censorship. But the fact is that I tried to post that post of mine three times, the first two just disappeared. I then went away for a while, posted my comment about censorship which was published then I gave it one last shot to post my original comment and it too was published. So I guess, I should have talked about a system glitch instead of censorship.

      @Amir-Ras – You know what? The only hate talk that I am beginning to sense is your and some other’s reaction to what I said. You tried to justify why you consider what I said is hate talk, I won’t even dignify that with a response.
      As for your $7billion figure, I already showed you how far that would go, not far!
      In closing, I raised some uncomfortable facts about the implication of removing the settlements. The answers I got ranged from anger to impractical but no REAL solution. So I stand by my comment that land swaps are the only solution. That was my last word in here because I can see this deteriorating into acrimony between us …

      Reply to Comment
    24. Amir-Ras

      BOSKO: If you don’t understand why it’s ok to talk about Palestinians like they’re innately cruel or brutal it’s your problem. People are exactly the same everywhere, Palestinians are not hardwired to hate Jews and history proves it’s not such a ridiculous notion for Jews to live under Muslim rule. Claiming that the case for dismantling the settlements is the same as a Juden Rein Germany is just insane and extremely disrespectful towards the Palestinians who have to suffer life under foreign Martial Law so that some settlers could fulfil their messianic desires.

      As for the numbers debate. You conclude falsely that it would cost the state of Israel 200,000$ to construct a single house for a single family, this is an absurd amount of money! apartments in Tel-Aviv are sold to the end buyer for not much more, It’s simply facetitious to pretend it would cost the State so much money to build alternative housing. Moreover, I demonstrated how the price of settlements increases over time, while the price of resettlement will be a once time fee.

      If you wish to hit&run be my guest, don’t pretend you’re all offended when people ask you (politely! if I might add!) to avoid equivocating the Palestinians with Nazis or claim they are innately immoral.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Bosko and all others – Amir-Ras is correct – we do not accept Nazi terminology in general. you are being warned, if you employ these terms again the comment will be censored. Thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras on my part, I am prepared to not hit and run and continue our differences of opinion provided that our discussion won’t turn into acrimony.
      First: I don’t believe that the Palestinian Arabs are inately cruel. But at this juncture, because of generations of incitement by cynical leaders, and because of our history in which their side is not lilly white innocent, nor is ours, simply put, they hate us. You can shut your eye to that but it won’t make the facts go away. When I say THEY, I don’t mean all of them but I do mean most of them.
      As for my cost figures, the Haaretz published a figure of $17 billion. I said in excess of $20 billion. Haaretz talked about past costs, i talked about future costs (which are always greater) so my figure does not appear all that umrealistic.
      Last but not least, about ongoing security cost savings. You base your claim on the premise that peace would ensue. I am not so optimistic because as I told you before (and you ignored it) Iran will still be here, Hamas will still be here, Hezbollah will still be here, we don’t know what will happen in Egypt and Syria, terrorism will not cease (question: does the use of the word “terrorism” constitute hate talk?) and security expenditures will continue.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Bosko

      @Amir-Ras – Here is some evidence to my claim that Palestinian children are being taught hatred of Jews …
      Go read up about Farfur
      I might also ask you how Hamas fighters treated Fatah supporters when they took over Gaza. And the treatment of Hamas fighters in the West Bank isn’t much better. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard about reports of torture in PA jails? If you want, I can find some links for you.
      So, please don’t pretend that my claim of Palestinian Arabs abusing their own citizens is just an invention.
      Having said that, I accept what you say. They are people like us and there is good and bad amongst us all. But right now, at this point of their history, it is their HARD MEN who are in control and they are the ones who are setting the agenda and not a humanistic agenda at that …

      Dahlia, this has gone off topic but I won’t apologise for defending what I said. I am just responding to accusations against me.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Bosko

      @Dahlia – Getting rid of close to 500,000 Jews from their homes. Yes, their homes, means making those places Jew free. I say that, because even before 1948 places like East Jerusalem and Gush Etzion had a Jewish population but the Arab legion and Palestinian irregular forces ethnically cleansed that Jewish population in 1948.
      Having said that, I am willing to abide by the rule of not using Nazi terminology in the future. I hope that others will too and they wan’t falsely equate Zionists to Nazis.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bosko, Amir-Ras – i realize you’ve gotten into what seems like a fairly respectful discussion. But please, when it gets this far away from the original article, try to take it elsewhere.

      Re the use of Judenrein. I don’t like it and it can be seen as a violation of our policy. However, I can understand that you are making a genuine historic comparison that you wish to justify, which is why you were warned and not censored. By the way, I don’t accept the comparison – when Nazis under a fascist regime belligerently occupied other countries and forcibly dislocated their jewish citizens, it’s different from elected Jewish representatives in their own sovereign state, who passed laws democratically, deciding to dismantle settlements in order to reintegrate Jews into the state, not to deport or kill them. Quite – if not totally – different.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Palestinian

      What do people expect when they travel thousands of kilometers , occupy a nation , bomb their villages , eradicate them from their homeland , terrorize them in different ways ,steal their land, money, culture and not just that ,they are still occupying them in the 21st century, murdering , torturing ,robbing, imprisoning and humiliating them justified by a myth.And then ask for “Peace” , why do they hate us ? It is about who started and who is supposed to end it by simply giving the naitves their full (notice the word full) rights.

      This comment has been slightly edited for offensive content

      Reply to Comment
    31. Deïr Yassin

      Everybody who knows even a little bit about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict knows that there is a whole ‘armada’ of right-wing organizations whose unique role is to scrutinize and distort ‘everything Palestinian’.
      The link that Bosko gives is to an article based on the declarations of Itamar Marcus. Marcus is the director of ‘Palwatch’ – and by the way a notorious right-wing settler himself – an organization who just as its twin-brother MEMRI has for unique mission to denigrate Palestinians.
      If you look up Palwatch or MEMRI in ‘sourcewatch’ or even wikipedia, you’ll see that their speciality is translations – and mostly heavily biased and distorted – of children programs. Theirs mistranslations are known by all serious journalists, and Memri is used by people like Thomas Friedman from NYT, Daniel Pipes, Pamela Geller ….
      Comparing the resettlement of 500.OOO settlers – who are living in the West Bank contrary to International Law (Geneva 4th Convention) – with “ethnic cleansing” is one of the major Hasbara-points given by The Israel Project and Frank Luntz in his “Hasbara Manual for Beginners” also called Global Language Dictionary. You can find it on ‘australiansforpeace’. It’s really worth a good laugh 🙂
      The same Bosko would of course never dream of calling the exodus:expulsion of more than 800.000 Palestinians from their native land for what is was: ethnic cleansing.
      I wonder what all those right-wing extremists are doing on a left-wing blog. Well, in fact I don’t really wonder: it’s called spamming …

      Reply to Comment
    32. Mitchell Cohen

      “I wonder what all those right-wing extremists are doing on a left-wing blog. Well, in fact I don’t really wonder: it’s called spamming …” [end of Deir Yassin]

      Unfortunately, for you, posting views that are different than those of this site is not “spamming”. See below link on 972’s comment policy, where towards the end it even says “please do post views different from ours”:


      Reply to Comment
    33. Deïr Yassin

      @ M. Cohen
      Well, reading Bosko’s comments doesn’t give my the impression of ‘different points of view’ but of following some established propaganda list that will take us through all the usual right-wing talking-points: we’ll soon be heading for the ‘desert blooming’ ‘and ‘the land without people for a people without land’.
      We’ve had the first points on the list already: the Palestinians who teach their children to hate the Jews, ‘proved’ by Palwatch, we’ve had the ‘Judenrein West Bank’, the disengagement from Gaza bringing more wars.
      How come I have this impression of ‘déjà vu’ ?

      Reply to Comment
    34. Bosko

      @Dahlia – I would very much like to respond to Deir Yassin’s post. But I am concerned that you will deem it off topic. So I won’t. But I would hope that you will urge her to stay on topic too.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Bosko, thanks for respecting the goal of this article and our site. Deir Yassin, please drop it – discussion over, unless you would like to consider other angles of the housing/social protest. thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    36. !!!

      Reply to Comment
    37. Marduk

      For some of you fighting over expulsions, Nazis, Deir Yassin – all of which are quite extraneous to the real subject of the article, that you have missed/ignored the real point. Remember the Biblical verse: b’ain khazon, yifra ha am – which King James mistranslates- where there is no vision the people perish – but the root of the verb par’a is more like- run wild go amok. (Cf. pereh adam). The real tragedy is that the most recent heads of gov’t have had NO vision to produce social cohesion (Sharon, Olmert,Bibi – not to mention Katsav). The kind of solidarity the country had in the 70’s when I was teaching there (yes despite the fashlah of the Y.K.war) is gone. Money making by any means fair or foul appears to have replaced any ideals – Zionist, religious or other. ( There were straws in the wind, even then. If memory serves – a friend told me back then that when a journalist mentioned to Sharon there was a conflict of interest between his being Min. of Agr. AND owning an x thousand dunam farm, S. laughed in the man’s face, walked away – and of course the gov’t did nothing). The anti-materialism of segments of earlier E. Eur.Jewry echoed in “tzu feel oylam hazeh ” (too much of the things of this world) or of earlier generations of committed Zionists appears gone. The end of Akhdut Avodah, the rise of unduly rich contractors for the post ’67 military-industrial complex, the nearly total atrophying of Labor are only three milestones along the road from idealism to out of control materialism, with the attendant divisiveness which Israel can ill afford at time of so many threats from outside. The visible gamut of this illness stretches far beyond the confines of cottage cheese makers and building contractors -the latter should have posters in their offices with the words of Isaiah – hoy l’migiyey bayit l’bayit, sadeh l’sadeh ad efes makom- (It’s been some 50 years since I read this so I may not have it quite right) Woe to those who join house to house, field to field until there is no place left. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect is the total failure of the Orthodox elements to provide any significant moral vision.
      One last word on C.O.L.- I forget what our salaries were linked to, but after 2 -3 years there I concluded I wanted my salary linked to peanut butter, of which I am very fond. The peanuts are grown and processed in Israel. I am sure the plastic dixies used by Egozan were also a local product. No expensive imports involved, but the price of the dixie continually rose faster than my salary.You will not be surprised to hear that I never actually submitted this to the Min. of Educ.
      The root problem is a moral one which none of the above cited amounts of shekalim will fix.

      Reply to Comment
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