300k Participate in Israeli Social Justice Protests
As social protests continue to catch the attention of the Israeli public, here’s a sampling from this morning’s Israeli-English media.
from The Jerusalem Post:
The nationwide social justice movement protest reached new heights on Saturday night, as an estimated 300,000 people took part in demonstrations across the country.
Tel Aviv was again the center of the protests, with more than 200,000 people taking part in a rally along the length of Rehov Kaplan in the center of the city, in one of the largest demonstrations in the history of the state.
from Amir Mizroch – Forecast Highs:
But just what are these protests about? What kind of practical effects will they have? Will they have any political ramifications? People are saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot ignore these protests, that he must do something to address the outcry. Well, he might not be able to ignore it, but will Bibi be able to change anything?
Here’s a scary thought:
What if this government can’t give the protesters what they want? And what if the next government can’t either. And the next one after that? What happens then? What if no government can muster enough political strength to force the ultra-Orthodox into the workforce and national service because the ultra-Orthodox parties are already too strong, and no coalition can survive without them? But this is only one part of the equation. Besides getting the one million or so ultra-Orthodox to start paying their own way, what government can hope to take on Israel’s tycoon-class? The men and women who make up about 16 families and who control about 60% of the economy are not going to go down without a fight. What if they threaten to bring down Israel’s economy if they are harmed in any way, causing hundreds of thousands of people to lose their jobs, while their masters move their businesses abroad? And what about bringing down housing costs? Is it really so simple to flood the market with new buildings to bring down the price of housing?
The city elders, the elders of all the cities, stood by as if they couldn’t believe it. Could this be Jerusalem? Around 30,000 people gathered in the city center and cried out for justice, a cry that hadn’t been heard in the city. The spotlight yesterday was on the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv, but the sight in Jerusalem was out of this world, as if the Foreign Legion had conquered the city center.
But these were Jerusalemites who experienced a sense of solidarity and pride they hadn’t felt in years. Where were all these masses when it appeared for years that they had surrendered unconditionally to other forces, when it was clear that the rules had changed, that the city had been abandoned to a different agenda, a rightist-religious one, in which demonstrations broke up only after violent clashes with the police?