Panel findings met with dismissal by tent city leaders

"Trajtenberg Committee has not borne any fruit," says Daphni Leef, who launched the tent city protest.

By
September 27, 2011 03:35
3 minute read.
Dafni Leef [file]

Dafni Leef 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Leaders of the tent city protest movement on Monday evening gave a dismissive response to the findings of the Trajtenberg committee, saying that the changes it recommended were not far-reaching enough to meet the demands of the social issues movement that swept the country over the summer.

“This does not constitute far-reaching change. It doesn’t appear that this committee has borne any fruit, not even the little bit that we thought they might surprise us with,” said Daphni Leef, the 26- year-old Tel Aviv film editor who launched the tent city protest with a Facebook post in mid-July.

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Leef watched Professor Manuel Trajtenberg issue the committee’s findings at a watching party held in Tel Aviv on Monday night, along with fellow protest leaders, including Stav Shafir, Regev Kuntas and Yonatan Levy.

The protest leaders made the “X” sign with their arms at the end of Trajtenberg’s presentation, the sign adopted in the tent cities to show disapproval. Also following the presentation, Leef said that the protest movement would examine the committee’s recommendations more in depth and issue a more detailed response at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning.

During a press conference in Tel Aviv in late August, Leef issued a statement in which she called on Trajtenberg to resign from the committee, saying that she and other protest leaders have no confidence in its ability to affect change. They also called on the Knesset to end its recess in order to debate the social issues driving the protest movement.

Spokesman for the tent city movement Roee Neumann said “The committee’s report revealed the policies of the government.”

“It doesn’t bring any change and causes deep disappointment with the wider public that took to the streets.”

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The National Union of Israeli Students also issued a statement shortly afterward in which union head Itzik Shmueli said that while he thanks Trajtenberg for contributing to this “national mission to change the country’s daily priorities, and even though the report has positive elements in it, we give it a grade of not enough.”

The tent city activists vowed to hold a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. with professors that had founded their own committee in Tel Aviv.

In the statement Shmueli also vowed the union would hold more protests at the Knesset and in the streets.

Following the so-called “Million Man March” on September 3, in which over 400,000 Israelis took to the streets across the country, protest leaders said that the movement had reached a new, post-mass protest stage. Many said they would wait until the Trajtenberg Committee issues its findings to decide whether to renew the mass street rallies.

At the Nordau tent city in North Tel Aviv on Monday evening, there seemed to be little if any sign of fervent interest in the Trajtenberg Committee findings about an hour or so after they were issued.

Handing out popsicles at the tent city, Nicola Simmons said that while she was happy with the education recommendations made by the committee, she was not pleased with the housing solutions presented.

“I am concerned primarily with the housing issue, the main issue that started this protest movement. These 160,000 houses they’re building, who will they be for? They said 20 percent will be affordable housing, but who will the other 80 percent be for? Who will be benefiting from this?”

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