In what are described as the largest rallies in Israel’s history, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated against high living costs and demanded economic reform.
The protests in cities including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, increase the pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
Protest leaders called it a “moment of truth” for the small grassroots campaign that has swollen into a national movement demanding social change.
“The parliament, the ministers, the prime ministers are working all for twenty families, they don’t care for the public and we’re here to take back the power to the public,” said Assaf, a demonstrator from the town of Modiin
Another protester, Dr Or Karasin, said:
“We’ve come here to protest for social justice, for environmental justice and we hope that the government will make some change and hear the voices of the people who that standing here today.”
Although the turnout was lower than the million some had hoped for, the movement has pushed the economy to centre stage in a country where security concerns and diplomacy have long dominated political debate.
Unemployment is relatively low, at 5.5 percent, and the economy is growing, but many especially from the middle class are not feeling the benefit.