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Housing crisis: 87% of Israelis back tent demo

27 july 2011, 10:47
Nine out of 10 Israelis back the massive tent protests against spiralling house prices, which have been joined by tens of thousands of people across the country, AFP reports, citing a poll published on Tuesday.

Figures published in the survey, which appeared in the Haaretz newspaper, showed that 87 percent firmly backed the tent protest, while more than 54 percent said they were unhappy with the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled the issue.

The huge protests over housing prices would also affect people's voting patterns, the poll said, indicating that if an election were called today, the Labour party, which currently has eight seats, would double its showing at the expense of the ruling Likud party and the centrist opposition party, Kadima.

Some 81 percent believed the massive protests, which have seen thousands join huge tent cities set up across the country, stems from real distress over astronomical house prices rather than an attempt to demonstrate against Netanyahu's government.

Only 9.0 percent said they did not support the protests, while 4.0 percent had no opinion on the issue which has dominated the headlines over the last week.

Just over half of the respondents -- 55 percent -- said they believed the demonstrations would succeed in bringing down house prices, while around a third, or 31 percent, said they thought it would make no difference.

Asked about the ongoing doctors strike, 85 percent said they backed the move to protest over pay and conditions, while 9.0 percent said they opposed it; the remainder had no opinion.

In an election, Netanyahu's Likud would lost four of its 27 seats, as would Kadima, which currently holds 28 mandates in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

In terms of Netanyahu's coalition partners, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party would add three seats to its current 11, the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu would lose one of its 15 seats, and Defence Minister Ehud Barak's Independence party, which holds five seats, would not secure any Knesset seats.

The paper did not say how many people were interviewed, not did it give a margin of error.

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