Protest leader announces more demonstrations in Tel Aviv

Daphni Leef, whose protest tent sparked a mass movement two years ago, vows to re-ignite demonstrations against living costs.

DaphniLeef370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem /The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem /The Jerusalem Post)
Protest marches will be held in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel on Saturday night, to mark the two-year anniversary of the start of the social justice protests, activists announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Daphni Leef, the young Tel Avivian who launched the movement when she started a Facebook event calling on Israelis to pitch tents at the city’s Habimah Square on July 14, 2011, to demonstrate against soaring housing prices, said the marches will be held to show that the movement is ongoing.
“We went to the street [in the summer of 2011] to bring change. Ten percent of the Israeli public hit the streets and the government has ignored it. There were elections, new faces, new promises, and we saw the protests get occupied by politicians,” Leef said, at a press conference at Tel Aviv’s Meir Park on Tuesday.
Addressing Finance Minister Yair Lapid, she said “I have news for you Mr. Finance Minister: We know much more today than we used to. We don’t have another two years to wait for change. You are a liar and if the government passes this budget, it must fall!” The protest will begin with a march heading from Hatikva Park in south Tel Aviv to Kaplan Street across from the Defense Ministry, with another march leaving for the same spot from Habimah Square at 8:30 p.m.
The press conference on Tuesday was attended by a group of around 20 people, but lacked a major media presence or many of the prominent activists from other protest groups which have split off and held demonstrations over the past two years.
Those present included Itzik Alrov, the Bnei Brak native who launched the “cottage cheese protest” in June 2011, a nationwide consumer boycott that is largely credited with laying some of the groundwork for the quality of life protests that began a month later.
Alrov called on Israelis to march on Saturday because “two years have gone by, nothing has changed and the cynics have managed to steal the protest from the people.”
He said that while the cost of living has continued to increase, a major difference between today and Israel in the summer of 2011 is that now Israelis won’t continue to vote for the politicians who disappointed them in the past – and have realized that the cost of living is something that can be changed.
When asked what role he thinks the marches will have, he vowed that they “will be the opening shot of the protests of the summer of 2013.”