© UnknownIsraeli protesters have set up tents like protesters in Bahrain and Egypt.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the US Congress and said Israel -- a regime setup by stealing land and which survives off charity -- is "what's right about Middle East" and received 29 standing ovations from American lawmakers, he neglected the fact that the uprising against autocratic regimes were never meant to be restricted to the Arab world.

Since July 14, people have been gathering across Israel to protest against the rising costs of housing, with "tent cities" being erected in Tel Aviv, al-Quds (Jerusalem), Beersheba, Haifa and Kiryat Shemona.

They are also calling on the regime to curb the high costs of fuel, food and healthcare. The protests have exposed a deep middle-class frustration over the economy, presenting Netanyahu with his biggest domestic challenge yet.

Certain media outlets have tried to downplay the protests arguing that unlike the Islamic Awakening in Arab states, Israelis are not calling for "democracy" or an end to "state oppression" but rather they are protesting against the "high price of housing, food and other goods."

But let's take a look at some of the uprisings in Arab states:

In Tunisia, high unemployment, food inflation and dire living conditions as well as government corruption and lack of political freedom triggered the protests in mid-December 2010.

As the protesters gained public support and popularity, the government began to suppress the demonstration with force and brutality -- which stirred public anger and resulted in the desertion of law enforcement officials to the side of the protesters.

When the Egyptian revolution began in late 2010, around 40% of Egypt's 80-million-strong population was living on less than USD 2 per day and a majority of them were relying on subsidized goods.

At the time unemployment was hovering around 10 percent (9.7 percent to be exact) and despite a relatively good economic growth (4.5 percent of its gross domestic product) in 2009 the living condition did not improve.

In Yemen, Jordan and Oman unemployment and poverty are also cited as the main causes of uprisings.

So in a way, the economic situation or the "high price of housing, food and other goods" did play a part in the Islamic Awakening or the Arab uprisings and in that sense the Israeli protests are not that different.

Now, media reports claim that there is "democracy" in Israel. However, unlike all democracies, Israel does not have a written constitution, nor does it have a bill of rights.

In his book Israel, Let's Talk About It Belgian journalist and author, Michel Collon has raised the shortcoming, saying it defies the Western media's designation of Israel as the only "democracy" in the Middle East and the "government of law."

What is referred to as Israeli "laws," Collon has protested, describes Israel as a "country" for Jews, where non-Jew citizens are not considered human.

© UnknownEgyptian protesters set up tents in the Liberation Square during their revolution
Israel does not even have freedom of speech. One example of violation of freedom of speech is the Israeli parliament (Knesset)'s passing a bill dubbed the "Boycott Ban," which outlaws boycotting, or calling for boycotts against, Israel and Israel's illegal settlements.

The bill was passed in mid-July despite quite ironically the parliament's legal adviser clearly stated that the bill "clashed directly with freedom of expression."

Another example is the Israeli military's crackdown on protests against the construction of the apartheid wall and settlements which take place on a weekly basis.

The recent waves of protests in Israel comes six month after Israeli foreign ministry employees went on a month-long strike and after the frequent closure of Israeli airports also due to walk-offs.

Israel's public debt equals 79 percent of its gross domestic product, and its imports 1.25 billion dollars more than it exports. More than 23 percent of Israelis live below poverty line. In other words -- words of the US congress -- Israeli is not "economically self-sufficient."

"Israel is not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy. In addition to US assistance, it is estimated that Israel receives about $1 billion annually through philanthropy, an equal amount through short- and long- term commercial loans, and around $1 billion in Israel Bonds proceeds. Since 1985, the United States has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II," The Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a 2003 report titled "Israel: US Foreign Assistance."

Now with the global economic meltdown and weak a post-recession recovery in the US and Israel's other allies, the amount of financial aid and other assistance that Israel can receive is sure to be affected adding fuel to the problems the Israeli regime is already facing.

On Friday, July 29, 2011 hundreds of Israelis held a demonstration in Tel Aviv, warning that they would block roads all over Israel on August 1 if the Netanyahu cabinet fails to meet their demands.

After weeks of widespread protests against high housing prices -- which are evaluated as the largest social protests in Israel since the 1970s -- the Israeli premier announced a series of measures to address the housing crisis last week.

However, Netanyahu's plan failed to end public outrage as his move was deemed to be insufficient.

Netanyahu's plan included the construction of 10,000 new student dormitory units for rental at reduced rates and a 50 percent subsidy on public transport for students outside city centers. It also included a discount on the price of land for construction companies building affordable homes for purchase and the building of flats for long-term rental at reduced cost.

But protesters accused Netanyahu of trying to bribe the students in order to split the protest movement.

According to a poll published by the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, 87 percent of Israelis support the protests over high rents and housing costs.

The survey also showed that Netanyahu's popularity has fallen to 32 percent from 51 percent two months ago with more than half of those surveyed being unhappy with his response to the housing crisis.

The Israeli regime, which fabricated its existence through violence in 1948 during the Six-Day War by forcing Palestinians to leave their homeland, is now facing both foreign and domestic opposition at a time when its allies are also losing strength and may not be able to come to the rescue this time around.