JERUSALEM, Dec. 16 (JTA) — Rising unemployment in Israel has brought warnings that a “social explosion” is imminent. The predictions were borne out Tuesday, when laid-off workers took part in violent protests in the southern development town of Ofakim. The protests took place one day after official figures showed a 1.2 percent rise in unemployment in November. The statistics, which indicated that 151,600 Israelis were out of work, put unemployment at its highest levels in five years. The unemployment figures indicated that 15 towns and settlements have more than 10 percent unemployment rates, and that development towns in the Negev have been particularly hard-hit. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed an emergency team to look into the matter of rising unemployment. In the Knesset, the opposition Meretz faction introduced a motion of no-confidence in the prime minister over the economic picture.
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