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Israel

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Index
  1. Israel Main Page
  2. State of Israel Gives Jews a Homeland
  3. Israel Expands Its Territory Through War
  4. Peace Treaty with Egypt Brings Temporary Calm to Mideast
  5. Jewish Settlements Increase Tension Between Israelis and Palestinians
  6. Netanyahu Steps Back from Oslo Accord
  7. Progress Toward Peace Inconsistent
  8. Violence Between Israelis and Palestinians Reaches New Heights
  9. Israel Withdraws Settlers from Gaza
  10. Sharon Forms New Party
  11. Hamas Dominates Parliamentary Elections
  12. Israel Criticised for Attacks on Lebanon
  13. New Hope for Peace as Leaders Return to Bargaining Table
  14. Violence Flares in Gaza
  15. Netanyahu Returns to Power; Peace Talks Fall Apart
  16. Attack on Aid Flotilla Causes International Uproar
  17. Peace Talks Resume—Briefly
  18. Unaffordable Housing Costs Cause Mass Protests
  19. Terrorist Attacks Threaten Peace with Egypt
  20. The Palestinians Request Membership to UN, Give up on Talks with Israel
  21. Gilad Shalit Released After More Than Five Years
  22. Exploratory Talks with Palestine Stall while Tension with Iran Increases
  23. Netanyahu Calls for Early Elections
  24. Report Confirms Suspicions over Iran's Nuclear Program
  25. Violence Erupts with Hamas in November 2012
  26. Palestine Given Status Upgrade at UN
  27. 2013 Election Shows a Slight Move to the Center for Israel
  28. Netanyahu Maintains Tough Stance against Iran
  29. Peace Talks Resume After Five Years
  30. Parliament Passes Landmark Military Service Legislation
Unaffordable Housing Costs Cause Mass Protests

On July 30, 2011, 150,000 people protested in streets across the country, including in Jerusalem. It was one of the largest demonstrations in Israel's history and the biggest protest ever over economic and social issues. Protests started earlier in the month over rising housing costs, organized largely by a Facebook-driven campaign by young people, much like the social media campaigns that aided change in Egypt and other nations in the region. With much of the region knee-deep in political unrests, and no peace plan with Palestine in sight, protestors have grown tired of setting aside domestic issues for the sake of the nation's security. While increasing housing costs were a catalyst, protestors were also reacting to a growing sense of frustration over the fact that the country's soaring wealth remains in the hands of a few people, while the average Israeli struggles to cover basic expenses.

On July 31, 2011, the director general of the finance minister resigned over the protests. Although none of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition parties have pulled out, the protests could have an impact on the government, particularly in reviving the defeated left. Left wing parties could swing the power back in their direction with the public focused on social issues rather than settlements in the West Bank and a two-state solution with Palestine. Those latter two issues still put the left wing at odds with the majority in Israel.

As protests continued throughout August 2011, Israel announced a plan to build a 1,600-unit apartment complex in Ramat Shlomo, an area of East Jerusalem. The Interior Ministry also said that it would soon approve another 2,700 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, part of the area that Israel annexed after capturing it from Jordan. The announcement threatened the United States effort to renew the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The new housing plans angered the Palestinians and came a month before the Palestinian Authority was scheduled to go before the United Nations General Assembly to declare statehood. Israeli groups opposed to housing construction on land conquered in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War were also angered. These opposition groups accused the Israeli government of exploiting the country's housing shortage, which has led to high rent costs and recent mass protests.

Next: Terrorist Attacks Threaten Peace with Egypt
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