Monday, August 1, 2011

Thousands of Israelis go on strike

Thousands of Israelis march in Tel Aviv on July 30, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Over 150,000 municipal workers have gone on strike as popular protests against Tel Aviv's handling of the economy continue to sweep across Israel.

The one-day strike was observed on Monday over two weeks after the Israelis first took to the streets to protest against social inequalities and high housing and living costs.

The regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrested many protesters so far.

The demonstrators say they can no longer afford the sky-rocketing housing prices, which have jumped by 50 percent in recent years.

They are also calling on the regime to curb the high costs of fuel, food and healthcare.

The largest protest was held on Saturday, when some 150,000 anti-government protesters took to the streets in several cities.

Additionally, several protesters on Thursday occupied the roof of the Tel Aviv stock exchange in what one of them termed a "symbolic gesture" against Netanyahu's handling of the economy.

"Ten big companies control 80 percent of the stock market and take all the fruits of the growth in the national economy," one of the protestors said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Monday expressed surprise that Israelis have been protesting as he believes "the economy is doing well," Ha'aretz reported.

Israel's Finance Ministry Director-General, Haim Shani, has announced his resignation over differences with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

The Israeli finance minister says the reforms demanded by protesters could lead to “anarchy” or a US and European-like crisis in Israel.

Furthermore, in a bid to quell the protests, Netanyahu is reportedly setting up a team of ministers and economist to examine the demand of protesters.

The protests have exposed deep frustration over the economy, presenting Netanyahu with his biggest domestic challenge yet.

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