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Israelis Respond to New Housing Law: Protests and More Protests

Leaders of protest movement criticize passage of controversial housing law; demonstrations planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Ilan Lior , Gili Cohen and Staff

Protesters block road to the Knesset, August 3, 2011. (Photo by: Emil Salman)

Leaders of the housing protest movement that has been gaining momentum across Israel in recent weeks criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government on Wednesday following the passage of a controversial housing bill that will set up national committees to approve new housing projects.

Protesters are planning large demonstrations on Thursday and Saturday.

The chairman of the National Students Union, Itzik Shmuli, said that the government's approval of the hosuing law "defied the public and choked the chance for trust and dialogue".

The Dror Yisrael movement said, "As we gathered to formulate our positions for dialogue with the government, we received a resounding slap from Netanyahu and his government. It seems that the prime minister's statement on establishing a team for dialogue with us was merely a facade or an attempt to dismantle opposition with sweet talk."

The Kadima party said in response to the passage of the law that, "The most bloated government in the history of Israel has proven that it is also the most opaque in the history of Israel. Government ministers speak of the close attention they are paying to the public protest but spit on them from the Knesset."

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