First Published: 2011-08-11


Israeli protest leader: UK riots 'warning sign'


Leaders of Israeli social protest movement warn: riots that swept Britain could take place in Israel too.


Middle East Online

The London fires could spread to Israel

JERUSALEM - Leaders of Israel's social protest movement on Wednesday called for more demonstrations this Saturday while warning that riot-swept Britain shows what can happen if public discontent gets out of hand.

Protest organisers on Wednesday called for more protests over the coming weekend, but not in Tel Aviv, scene of mass rallies last weekend.

"We decided not to stage demonstrations in Tel Aviv but to call for rallies across the country," activist leader Stav Shafir said.

"The important thing is to prove that the protest is not limited to people from Tel Aviv."

Student union leader Itzik Shmuli told public radio that Saturday rallies were planned in Afula in the north, and in the southern city of Beersheva.

Last Saturday more than 250,000 demonstrators marched on the streets of Tel Aviv and other cities calling for "social justice."

Shmuli said that while his members were committed to peaceful protest the unrest in Britain should sound an alarm bell to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The warning from protests that has gone completely out of control can also be a warning sign to Netanyahu of what could happen if the public sees that dialogue (with the government) is insincere," Shmuli told local news website Ynet. "It could lead to a venting of anger here."

He said the students were committed to talks with the government.

"But we ask for a sincere and real process with the aim of bringing about real solutions and a change in priorities."

The public agency responsible for state-owned land, which is most of the land in Israel, approved on Wednesday Netanyahu's proposals to lower prices on land sales to facilitate affordable housing, in what local media called a historic decision.

"Land will no longer be used as a tool for profit but will serve the citizens," Israel Lands Administration chairman, Housing Minister Ariel Atias, said in remarks broadcast on state-run television.

Israel has been rocked since mid-July by a rapidly growing protest movement demanding cheaper housing, education and health care.

Haaretz newspaper warned on Wednesday that complacency could derail the movement.

"Protest organisers are facing the worst enemy in their struggle: loss of interest," the daily said.

"Organisers should not become discouraged even if the turnout is lower at the next demonstration or the media decides not to cover events in Rothschild Boulevard," it said of Tel Aviv's upscale area where many protesters set up a tent camp.

An opinion poll published by Channel 10 television late on Tuesday showed that 88 percent of respondents said they supported the movement, with 46 percent who voted for Netanyahu's Likud party saying they had joined protests.

A committee charged with examining the demands of the protest movement met for the first time on Tuesday, expressing the hope that its work would provide Israelis with a "better future."


Iraq forces fight to tighten noose around Mosul

In Syria, Kurds restore ancient names to Arabised towns

UN call to extend Yemen truce falls on deaf ears

Turkey reports over 35,000 people in detention after coup attempt

In violation of constitution, Iraq parliament votes to ban alcohol

Turkey hits Kurdish group in Syria again

Kremlin aims to 'liberate' Syria with Assad in power

Egypt court upholds 20-year sentence for Morsi

Turkey PM warns EU: Turkey has alternatives!

Battles rage in Yemen despite three-day truce

For second day, Iraq forces clash with ISIS in Kirkuk

New report accuses Syria of chemical attack in Qmenas village

Islamic Jihad stages show of force in Gaza

UN says 'crimes' in Aleppo are 'of historic proportions'

IS sniper kills Iraqi journalist in Kirkuk

US official says coalition should target IS in Raqa after Mosul

Moscow extends Aleppo ceasefire

Italy PM says officials should have voted against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ accused of fraud

UN: IS may use civilians as human shields in Mosul

Armed men attack refugee boat off Libya

US says will work with Turkey to deal IS 'lasting defeat'

Moscow ‘highly concerned’ at jihadists’ refusal to leave Aleppo

Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit

Mauritania president says no change to two-term limit

UN delays Aleppo evacuations due to lack of security assurances

Oman denies reports of arms smuggling to Yemen

Israel looking to buy three more German submarines

83 migrants rescued off Cyprus

Under pressure in Mosul, IS fighters attack Kirkuk

Air strikes hit Yemen rebels despite ceasefire

US officials: Iran boosting arms sales to Huthis via Oman

Iraq forces make gains against IS near Mosul

Arab coalition accuses Yemen rebels of breaching truce

Italian PM blocks EU sanctions threat against Russia over Aleppo

Pentagon chief in Turkey for talks on tensions with Iraq

Israeli occupation troops kill Palestinian teenager

Iraqis flee IS-held Mosul for war-torn Syria

Five years after his death, Kadhafi's 'Green Book' is ridiculed in Libya

Iraq issues warrant for former governor of Mosul

EU leaders threaten sanctions against Assad allies

Syria army urges residents to evacuate Aleppo during ceasefire

British warships shadow Syria-bound Russian naval force

Turkey unexpectedly keeps interest rate steady

British PM urges united EU response to Russia over Syria 'atrocities'