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Protest hardens in Israel

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Protest hardens in Israel

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The day after the biggest demonstration in Israel’s history there are no signs that protesters are getting ready to leave the public arena they have grabbed.

Between 300 and 450,000 people came out onto the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv on Saturday night calling for social justice and a bigger share of Israel’s successful economy.

It meant there was only one thing on the agenda of today’s weekly cabinet meeting. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not break the country’s budget to satisfy people’s demands, which range from tax cuts and an expansion of free education to bigger government housing budgets.

Netanyahu’s coalition government faces no immediate threat, but it’s the first time economics and not security has forced its way to the top of Israel’s political agenda, and it represents a real challenge for the leadership in how to deal with it.