Israeli Officials Vow to Cut Cost of Living

By: AP
By: AP

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's finance minister says the government
will take swift action to reduce the soaring cost of living,
looking to ease tensions a day after 250,000 people demonstrated
over the rising prices.

Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on Sunday that Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to announce the formation of a special
committee of government ministers and experts to address the
demands of protesters angered over housing costs and a growing
wealth disparity.

The protest began three weeks ago when young Israelis pitched
tents on a posh Tel Aviv boulevard complaining of housing costs.
Since then, the protests have mushroomed.

Steinitz described the mass demonstrations as "impressive,"
and said Israel's cost of living is "unjustifiable and
unreasonable."

Organizers said they expect Saturday night's protests to be the
largest since they began about a month ago. Nationwide rallies last
weekend drew about 150,000 people.

The demonstrations began with a small Tel Aviv tent encampment
designed to protest high real estate prices. They quickly grew with
tent camps sprouting up around the country and other groups
protesting social issues joining the movement.

Protesters are demanding affordable housing, lower tax rates,
free day care for children and other social changes.

The protests are becoming the biggest internal challenge so far
for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.


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