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Israelis protest soaring housing prices

By Guy Azriel, CNN
Israelis march to protest against rising housing prices and social inequalities in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 23.
Israelis march to protest against rising housing prices and social inequalities in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 23.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tens of thousands of Israelis gather in Tel Aviv
  • Protesters urge the government to bring down house prices and rents
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(CNN) -- Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest against the soaring housing prices in the Jewish state.

Hanging banners reading "people before profits" and "welfare state now", the protesters urged the government to take immediate actions that would bring down house prices and rents.

The demonstration heated up when hundreds of protesters attempted to block a major intersection and hurled a stun and a smoke grenade at police forces.

"Forty-three of the demonstrators were arrested, with eight of them indicted in court this morning for assaulting police officers", Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the problem on Sunday's weekly Cabinet meeting, saying "a fundamental change is needed" and promised comprehensive reforms that would speed up bureaucracy and construction of more apartments.

The rally marked the peak of a weeklong protest in tent villages across the country, inspired many believe by the recent uprisings in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.