March of the Million Takes Place

September 3, 2011

Israeli streets in cities throughout the country were packed with more than 450,000 protesters in the largest demonstration in the history of the country. The protests were billed as the “March of the Million,” and were part of the summer long social justice protests in which mostly young Israelis demand more affordable housing and relief from the extremely high cost of living.

The march was held under the slogan of, “The government only understands the numbers.” Speaking to the crowd in Tel Aviv, student leader Itzik Shmuli stated, “Mr. Prime Minister, the new Israelis have a dream and it is simple: to weave the story of our lives into Israel. We expect you to let us live in this country. The new Israelis will not give up. They demand change and will not stop until real solutions come”

The following day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a government meeting that the government had a duty to “correct social disparities.” In December 2011, the Trajtenberg Committee, which had been established in August 2011 to address the issues of cost of living in Israel made several recommendations for changing Israeli tax laws as well as creating more affordable housing.