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    Posted May 13, 2013 by
    Tel-Aviv, Israel

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    Tel-Aviv’s main streets are blocked again by thousands of people!


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     ygphoto photographed these images of protests happening in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 11. He shares people were protesting against new government budget cuts, tax increases, the export of natural gas and other perceived problems.
    - Jamescia, CNN iReport producer

    In the summer of 2011, something happened in israel, something that didn’t happen since the 60’s… people walked out demonstrating against the government, for decades people believed in the system, trusted the system and followed the system, but in 2011 with emerging new generation of Israelis, those who are now have access to endless information online and can judge and think for themselves, not only to what the mass media wrights and what politicians say.

    And so, few people, among which was a girl named Dafny Leaf, lead the biggest demonstration in the history of israel… over 100,000 people walked out to the streets demanding change!

    The most important parts of their messages was for lowering real estate prices, lowering food prices, taxing the rich and putting taxes on the largest companies on the market which don’t really pay any taxes, and one of the most painful subjects for none-religious people in israel is the orthodox Jewish community, which stands at several hundred thousand today, and none of them work nor do any military service.

    Yet, they all receive government benefits, such as; monthly payment of about 2,000-4,000 shekels per man studying at the yeshiva, around 500 – 1,200 per child (and most of them have more than 5 kids), they receive free education at colleges and universities while all other people have to pay for it, and they don’t do any military service while all other must do.

    So, after more than two months of massive demonstrations, protesting camp sites, the only thing that changed really, was the mobile industry that was open for all competition, and due to that, prices went drastically down, and that’s about it… which was a bit disappointing…

    Two years later, israeli people vote for a new blood, freshman at politics, voting for change and supporting the newly born Yesh Atid (There is Future) party, led by the former media man, writer and actor Yair Lapid, in hope that things will change.

    Just few months after election and smashing success of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid receives the Minister of Finance position, with over 40 billion shekels debt in the government wallet.

    Now, the man who promised changes, who were elected by the middle-class and who promised to take from the rich and give to the poor while running his election campaign, now as the Minister of Finance, presented a new Government Budget for the next year, and I must say, most people who voted for him, did not like the new Yair Lapid…

    The new budget promotes cuts to lower the created over 40 billion shekels debt by several different ways: increasing the generic VAT (Ma”am) by another 1% bringing it to a high of 18%, increasing income tax to low class, middle class and upper-class, putting back taxes for tourists, making luxury tax for luxury items such as cars, boats, etc. removing tax benefits for different areas of Israel due to their distance from central part of israel, cutting the military budget, cutting the orthodox benefits and cutting the child payments for people who earn above average salaries.

    Well, allot of people didn’t like that, and Tel-Aviv’s main streets got closed again last Saturday night, making way for over several thousands of people who went out to the streets, demonstrating again, demanding again, and this time, fighting against several slightly different things from 2011…

    The peoples demand; change the newly proposed government budget, do not export natural gas, take from the rich not for the poor, and do not touch the child payment.

    I had the pleasure to talk to Dafny Leaf, who lead the biggest demonstration ever back in 2011, and I asked her if she thinks that this demonstration will end-up with the same results of nothing… she had a very disappointing voice, but found confidence and said “I really hope that this time around, things would actually change and we will get what we are asking for, or at least a serious portion of it”.

    Well, yes or no, there is only one way to find out… and so I will wait to see how things progress.
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