The summer-long saga of the homeless protest in downtown Jerusalem finally ended last week, and it couldn't have come at a better time. As reported last month, those camped out in Gan Menora faced a race against nature as well as the authorities, requiring a resolution to their predicament before the rains came and flooded their camp. Their prayers were answered just as Succot ended, with the demonstrators' leader, Ayala Sabag, describing the result as a "great success for our protest." The group had vowed not to leave their illegal encampment until every last one of them had been offered financial assistance or a solution to their lack of housing. In the end, according to Sabag, 15 of the homeless families were given homes to move into, and seven families were offered an NIS 1,700 monthly rent subsidy. The only people still in limbo are four youths who had run away from home and joined the protest, all of whom are staying with Sabag until suitable arrangements are made for them by the authorities. "Even though we got what we wanted, the authorities didn't give it to us with good grace," said Sabag. "I had to basically wrench the money from them." In a statement, the municipality quoted a Finance Ministry official who confirmed that "all of the homeless protesters have had their situations resolved." The spokesman also stressed that the demonstrators had greatly endangered their safety and that of their children by camping so close to the main road. Sabag, a veteran social activist, plans to employ the tactic again next springin staging a similar protest in Talbiyeh on behalf of a group of Arab and Jewish women in financial jeopardy. Describing the dismantling of the Menora encampment, Sabag said: "It was very emotional, lots of tears were shed. But we'll all stay in touch and we'll all remember how we were victorious in our struggle."

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