Yediot Aharonot asserts that, "Human rights organizations are not terrorist organizations no matter how upsetting their political involvement is," and adds, "We need those who will constantly and determinedly wave the banner of human rights even if they sanctify all means en route to this goal. We need those who will present us with moral dilemmas, who will irk and bother us, who will remind us all that reality is complicated. They infuriate, distort and are occasionally hypocritical and/or blind. In my book, they are even damaging sometimes. But, for all that, they are necessary." The author believes that one of the main problems is that "Human rights have become the monopoly of the extreme Left," and contends that, "If the Right would see fit to develop a serious alternative, to evaluate our combat ethos out of a desire to help the IDF, to consider relations with the Palestinians – not because the world is hypocritical in its criticism of us, but because it is our own morality – if it was possible to separate hollow peace politics from the need for minority rights, then there would be no need for extremist left-wing organizations. But there are no such right-wing and centrist organizations and only they, the infuriating, remain." The paper criticizes the tone of the current debate and cautions, "Those who favor oversight and laws to restrict borderline activity against Israel are not fascists, and those who sharply criticize Israel or even badmouth the country are not terrorists."
Four papers discuss various issues related to the encampments that have sprung up in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in protest against high housing prices:
The Jerusalem Post comments: "Like the cottage cheese uprising, the housing market protest is a symptom of a much larger ailment – the inability of a growing number of Israelis to make ends meet. Grassroots movements such as the Rothschild Boulevard tent city illuminate a much deeper socioeconomic malaise: Growing numbers of Israelis are unable to pay their expenses. Housing and basic supermarket products are part of the impossible equation. The so-called "free education" provided by our state-run schools is another glaring example. Fuel and water prices continue to climb. And many Israelis, knowing they could never afford private health care if crisis struck, pray even more fervently for good health."
Haaretz writes: "It started with the cottage cheese rebellion and has now moved to a protest over affordable housing. But while the issue of milk prices is relatively easy to resolve, the issue of housing and rental prices is a much bigger and more complex problem. As long as there is a serious shortage of apartments, prices will continue to rise. And this is why there is a need for concerted efforts to increase supply. The government has to make an effort to resolve the problem and allow residents a reasonable life."
Ma’ariv suggests that, "The revolutionaries of Tahrir Square and the protestors in Tel Aviv are similar in that neither has a long-range working plan," and adds, "There is one significant difference between them: In Cairo, at least there was a short-term goal. In Tel Aviv, even such a goal is hard to find."
Yisrael Hayom believes that, "Benjamin Netanyahu is not to blame for the neglect that has continued for many years; it was his bad luck that the bubble burst on his watch." The author says, "The protestors have no policy of their own; they have demands without specific content," and urges the Government to encourage affordable construction away from the center of the country, and invest in public transportation and employment in the periphery.
[Yoaz Hendel, Shmuel Rosner and Dan Margalit wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]