Unprecedented Protests Grip Israel

We’re talking about the huge month of protests in Israel. Israelis in the streets calling for an end to Israel’s status quo and growing inequality.

Israelis participate in a protest against the cost of living in Israel, in central Tel Aviv. (AP)

Israelis participate in a protest against the cost of living in Israel, in central Tel Aviv. (AP)

Huge crowds. National uproar. Passion and politics in the streets. It’s not Egypt or Syria or Yemen or London this time, but Israel.

In the last month, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have poured into the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and beyond to protest the cost of living, the cost of housing, the cost of cottage cheese –- and maybe a lot more. They’ve built a tent city and railed against tycoons and inequality. Shouted they want their country back.

But back to what?

This hour On Point: After the Arab Spring, we’ve got the Israeli Summer. What do Israelis want?

-Tom Ashbrook


Etgar Keret, well- known Israeli author who has been involved in the recent protests. He’s author of several short story collections, three graphic novels, and a children’s book. He has also written extensively for film and television. His most recent book is “The Girl on the Fridge.”

Bernard Avishai, adjunct professor of Business at Hebrew University. He’s author of “The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring Israel Peace at Last.”

Nadia Matar, founder of the Israeli settlers’ group — “Women in Green” –- which supports Israeli settlement of land captured in the 1967 War, and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state


Associated Press gallery of protests from the past few weeks, as Israelis have set up tent camps in a handful of cities throughout the country calling attention to the soaring cost of living.

Map of Israeli Housing Protests
View Map of Israeli Housing Protests in a larger map

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: “Middle-class Israelis from across the political spectrum are coming to the improvised tent site to protest what they consider government indifference to the unsustainable cost of living in Tel Aviv. A “rally for affordable living” brought more than twenty thousand people to the streets of Tel Aviv, holding signs that read, “I’ve had enough.” The face of the movement is Daphni Leef, a twenty-six-year-old film student from Tel Aviv, who first set up a tent on Rothschild after looking for an apartment in Tel Aviv and realizing that she couldn’t afford any of those available.”

Haaretz: “Are you in favor of affordable housing? If you are, you may want to consider this. If you want to build “socially correct” apartments on your own property, the land’s value could fall by 28% or more, found a study by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality.”

UPI: “Parents, doctors, students and other Israelis turned out in force to participate in nationwide marches for better living conditions, observers said.”

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