Did you see Robin Margo's op-ed in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald?
Now is the time to be involved in NIF Australia and to support this movement of Israelis. Like NIF Australia on Facebook, tell your friends to subscribe to our updates, and consider donating and supporting this important cause.
The New Israel Fund Australia team.
Tent city is a beacon of social justice and optimism for all Israelis
Imagine Martin Place and Hyde Park transformed into a tent city and Oxford Street impassable by vehicles as hundreds of thousands of Australians unroll swags and stage a mass sit-in that spurs copycat protests at Federation Square in Melbourne and Southbank in Brisbane.
It may be hard to imagine tent cities sprouting across this country but that's been Israel's reality for almost a month as a critical mass of protesters have set up camps in Tel Aviv's city centre and elsewhere, refusing to leave until the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, acts on their grievances.
No, they're not up in arms over continued rejectionism by Hamas extremists, or the nuclear ambitions of Iran's ayatollahs, or where a UN vote over Palestine might lead.
Their main complaint is something Sydneysiders know about: the unaffordability of housing and the spiralling cost of living.
More than 150,000 have been protesting in Israel this past week. What started as a protest for more affordable housing has now transformed into a national campaign for more government accountability in health care, education and other public services, all of which are currently neglected. NIF is proud to support them in their protest.
In fact, for the past several years, NIF has been at the forefront of these issues, helping to spark this new Israeli awakening. NIF has helped co-ordinate the protests not just in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but also in cities right across Israel.
Prices for housing in Israel, both purchased and rented, have risen relentlessly over the past few years. According to the Bank of Israel, the price of the average Israeli home has risen nearly 50 per cent since December 2007 with rent prices also climbing sharply. Over the past year alone, apartment prices have risen 15 per cent.
Despite Israel's impressive economic growth, more and more Israelis, especially the young and disadvantaged, simply cannot afford to buy or even rent a home.
NIF Israel Executive Director Rachel Liel said, "What began as a local protest has grown as the Israeli public has stood for its rights and demanded a more equitable division of resources from the government. NIF is proud that it has supported every struggle by civil society in the past decade and is proud to be supporting this struggle - morally, as well as with advice and resources.”
Learn more about New Israel Fund's support of these protests.
Amos Oz in Melbourne - Tomorrow NightAmos Oz spoke last night in Sydney, and is speaking again tomorrow, this time at the Melbourne Town Hall, in association with the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and the Wheeler Centre. Don't miss out on your tickets. Also, make sure you read his article in today's Ha'aretz, where he has written about the housing protests.
More from NIF Australia
- The Melbourne screening of "Blood Relation", an Israeli documentary by Noa Ben Hagai, is on Sunday the 4th of September at 1:30pm. Go to the Facebook event, or view the poster for more details.
- Did you see that two NIFAu directors, Mandi Katz and Liam Getreu, had op-eds in the Jewish News two weeks ago? Read Mandi's response to Philip Chester, and Liam's view on the boycott law.