A new social protest march was held in Tel Aviv on Saturday, a week after the violent confrontation between activists and the police in the previous protest and a riot in which several bank windows were broken. Last night's protest was particularly tense, as the demonstrators marched from Habima Square to the Tel Aviv Museum.

A protest march was also held in Jerusalem by several hundred social activists. The demonstrators marched from Paris Square along King George Street to Horse Square. Some protesters tried to disrupt the Jerusalem light rail.

In Tel Aviv, hundreds of people marched from Habima Square to the Tel Aviv Museum, where they held the main demonstration. The organizers estimated the number of protesters at several thousand. The police kept their distance. The Forum for Social Justice said that the protest march had police approval, and was fully coordinated with the security forces.

The police closed the streets along the march to traffic, but some protestors demonstrated opposite the government compound in Tel Aviv, and, earlier in the evening, others disrupted traffic on Namir Road and Shaul Hamelekh Street. The police did not intervene.

At the Tel Aviv Museum, retired Police Major General Zeev Even-Chen, the father of one of the victims of the Carmel fire, gave a speech in which he accused government officials of failing to take responsibility for what was happening in the country. "Everyone says it was not me; it's nothing but a kindergarten headed by the prime minister... The people who call you anarchists are themselves anarchists. Not us."

In a statement today, the Forum for Social Justice said, "It has been almost a year since we came out on to the streets with very clear demands from the Israeli government. The government's attempts to say it doesn't understand shows obtuseness and blindness. Today, we are telling the Israeli government, 'Open your eyes. We are demanding increased investment in people. We are the people who are bearing this country on our shoulders. The money that you will take in the next harvest is not yours, but belongs to the citizens. You are only responsible for its fair distribution."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com