On a march to the Israeli prime minister's house this week, a protester's sign in Hebrew reads "People before profits"
The leaders of a social protest movement that has rocked Israel for a month called on demonstrators to "get out of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem" to bolster demonstrations Saturday in a dozen other cities. © Gali Tibbon - AFP/File
On a march to the Israeli prime minister's house this week, a protester's sign in Hebrew reads
AFP
Last updated: August 14, 2011

Israel braces for social justice rallies

The leaders of a social protest movement that has rocked Israel for a month called on demonstrators to "get out of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem" to bolster demonstrations Saturday in a dozen other cities.

"We are expecting tens of thousands in Beersheva in the south where the main gathering will be held," protest leader Uri Metuki told AFP.

The goal, he said, is to expand the geographic and demographic scope of the movement, as so far the middle class has been the driving force behind social justice rallies.

"The main gathering will be held in Beersheva in the south, but there will also be events in Haifa (Israel's third-largest city), Netanya, Afula, Beit Shean, Eilat and Dimona," another organiser, Stav Shafir, said on Friday.

"In these periphery cities people's lives are even more difficult than in the centre, near Tel Aviv. It is essential to express the solidarity of the whole movement with the populations of these communities," she added.

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

Last Saturday, more than 300,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv and other cities calling for "social justice" and a "welfare state."

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