Most Israeli municipalities declare general strike in solidarity with housing protests
Most municipal authorities have declared a one-day strike scheduled for Monday, in sympathy with popular protests spreading throughout Israel.Israeli settlers largely back the housing protests but are wary of left-wing slant.
Municipalities will not be giving services to government offices or holding public office hours today, streets will not be cleaned and garbage will not be collected.
After two weeks of front-page headlines about demonstrations over the high cost of housing, Yehuda Shimon - a lawyer from the West Bank Jewish settlement outpost of Havat Gilad - decided on Thursday that the time had come for him to visit Tel Aviv himself for a firsthand look at the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard. As an expert in the never-ending struggle over the unauthorized Havat Gilad outpost, Shimon thought he might be able to learn a thing or two from the Tel Aviv demonstrators.The power of Facebook in Israeli protests.
After surveying the scene, Shimon returned to Havat Gilad disappointed. Calling the protest tent encampment "one big, despicable summer camp," Shimon proclaimed that the tent city was not a genuine protest; his impression was that most of the protesters seemed to have come out of mere summer boredom. "Once the boredom passes, this whole battle will die out," Shimon predicted.
Yet even as Shimon spoke, his wife Ilana challenged his remarks.
"The protest is justified," she said. "You can't raise children in this country."
The difference of opinion between Yehuda Shimon and his wife appears to be a reflection of wider sentiments among residents of the West Bank settlements. On one hand, they agree that the burden on the public must be eased. On the other, they see the current housing protests as an effort by left-wing activists to piggyback on justified grievances in order to promote the broader diplomatic agenda of the left.
....the role of Facebook is not limited to news updates. The protesters on Rothschild Boulevard hold meetings where everyone can have a say. On Facebook, one status update can provoke a flood of responses and turn into a heated public debate.
Facebook is what radio was in the early days of the state, what television was when the Iron Curtain crumbled, what the newspapers were during the Spring of Nations. The protests over the price of gas, cottage cheese and, of course, housing, would not have accelerated as they did without Facebook.
It's even possible that without this platform, where people can call for a boycott and get infinitely more exposure for their views than they would by standing in the town square, these protests would have never taken place.