Over 400,000 Israelis protest for social value

Jerusalem: More than 400,000 Israelis poured into the streets in towns and cities across Israel to protest against the rising cost of living and demanded sweeping economic reforms in the country, amid a call for a “million -man march“ by the protesters.

Over 300,000 people were in Kikar Hamedina in Tel Aviv where a huge rally was taking place after a march through the streets of the city.

"An estimated 460,000 people gathered across the country on Saturday evening to protest for social change as part of the "March of the Million," Channel 10 news reported.

Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmueli called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to "Let us live in this country," during a speech at the rally in Kikar Hamedina, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"Mr. Prime Minister, take a good look at us: We`re the new Israelis," he told the hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered as part of the social protest movement rally.

"We want only one thing: To live in this country. We want not only to love the State of Israel, but also to exist here respectfully, and to live with dignity," he said.

Protests were taking place in 20 different cities across the the country including in Jerusalem, Haifa and Afula.

The demonstration was billed as the climactic street protest of a movement that has seen tent cities sprout up and forced quality-of-life issues into the forefront of the political debate.

An estimated 25,000 demonstrators crowded into Paris Square, opposite the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem. Toddlers sitting on shoulders blew plastic trumpets, teenagers in youth movement shirts danced and sang "My Bibi has three apartments" to the tune of "Haman`s Hat Has Three Corners," and die-hard activists waved their well-worn signs as thousands thronged through the King George Street.