Youth movements protest for more funding

Some 400 youth movement members demonstrated outside a Haifa city council meeting last week in protest against what they say is inadequate funding of youth movements by the city, reports The protesters, who came from youth movements across the spectrum, said that beyond wanting more funding for youth movements, they wanted "recognition as a source of education in the city." According to the report, the protesters issued fliers stating that Haifa's support for youth movements was less than that of any other local authority in the country, and that more than half the city's youth movements did not have appropriate structures from which to conduct their activities. One youth movement leader said that 16 youth movements were active in the city, and they provided a "second home" for many young people and ensured that they would become "active and involved" members of society. The report said that Mayor Yona Yahav emerged from the building and spoke to the demonstrators, promising to set up a special fund to renovate youth movement buildings and to build two new structures for them. But several parents and youth movement leaders expressed skepticism, saying that the mayor had been making the same promises for years but had not acted on them. "We are not buying Yahav's promises when he has been saying the same things already for a number of years," one parent said. A municipal spokesman later responded the mayor stood by his promises, saying that the youth movement budget had been doubled this year, that one youth movement branch was currently being renovated, that a new branch would be constructed within the next year, and that the construction of another branch had been held up by neighbors' objections and was currently going through the legal system.