JERUSALEM — Hundreds of thousands of Israelis returned to the streets in cities across the country Saturday night to protest the high cost of living, showing the resilience of a social justice movement eclipsed last month by security concerns after deadly attacks in southern Israel.
Police estimated that more than 300,000 people participated nationwide, but media reports from across the country said that more than 400,000 joined demonstrations in more than a dozen cities and towns — the most since the protests began two months ago.
The protest was one of the biggest in Israel’s history.
What began as a tent encampment in Tel Aviv to protest rising housing costs mushroomed over the summer into a national grass-roots movement for social justice and more equitable distribution of wealth. It has been driven by middle-class Israelis who complain that rising living costs are outstripping their salaries.
With the battle-cry “the people demand social justice!,” the movement has redefined the Israeli public agenda, traditionally dominated by security concerns and the grinding conflict with the Palestinians.