Facebook Invitation Rallies Massive Israeli Rent Protest

A protest over high housing prices in Israel, which prompted a few thousand people to camp out in the streets of Tel Aviv's Habima Square, was ignited by a Facebook event invitation.

A Facebook event invitation helped organize a protest over high housing prices in Israel. Simultaneous events took place in two other Israeli cities: Jerusalem and Holon. Protests are now in their third day.

The original event invitation was created in Hebrew, but the English translation is:

Still at home? So we guess you’re fine with spending half your salary on rent. If you’re fine with it, great. But if you won’t come, no one will do it for you! The protest continues, and we’re not going anywhere soon. Come and join us! Bring tents, sleeping bags, water, camping burners, mats, musical instruments, cameras, and lots of friends.

Ynetnews reported that one protestor set up a living room on Rothschild Boulevard with furniture that he brought from home.

Organizer Daphni Leef came up with the idea for the protest after learning that she has to vacate her apartment because the building is being torn down and replaced, and finding no affordable alternatives, and she told Ynetnews:

This is just the beginning, talk to me when the entire Rothschild Boulevard is full of tents. I will stay here as long as it takes for something to happen, even if I have to do it alone.

This kind of communication has disappeared from this country. This is the biggest thing to come out of this day, that people are coming together and listening to each other. It’s your right to have something as basic as a roof over your head.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai backed the protest, saying on his Facebook page, as reported by Ynetnews:

The tent protest is justified and worthy. The government of Israel is knowingly as an ideology leaving the social issues up to the forces of the market. There’s no planning, no long-term vision, and the decisions are all improvised.

And Knesset member Dov Khenin told Ynetnews:

Something exciting is happening here. People are standing up and saying that the housing shortage has reached unbearable proportions, that they are being squeezed out of the city.

The towers are not meant for these people. These boulevards, which once were occupied by students, are now affordable only for the rich. We must understand that this is not a turn of fate, but a product of social policy, of a warped list of priorities.

Readers, would you attend a Facebook-organized protest over an issue that concerned you?

Thanks to Eti Suruzon for the tip.