Netanyahu forms panel to tackle tent city unrest


Israel's Prime Minister has created a panel to explore the demands of the protesters who have gathered in Tel Aviv in recent weeks to highlight a number of social problems.

Benjamin Netanyahu said the panel of experts would sit down with the leaders of the so-called "tent city" protests, as they showed no sign of subsiding.

The campaigners began their demonstration a month ago, angry about housing provision, education, the level of the minimum wage and other social ills.

The ongoing protest is one of the most significant in the history of Israel. Around 300,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv this weekend, with smaller rallies around the country.

At the cabinet meeting Mr Netanyahu said the 15-member panel, to be led by the chairman of the National Economic Council, Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, would review their demands and develop a proposal for how reform should proceed.

The Prime Minister said the government was aware of working families who were struggling with rent, students in financial distress and soldiers without financial support.

"We want to provide genuine solutions," he said. "We will listen to everyone. We will speak with everyone. We will hold a genuine dialogue, not pressured and perfunctory, but we will really listen both to the distress and to the proposals for solutions.

"In the end we will consider practical solutions. Practical solutions require choices. They also require balance."

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