Mass protests and assemblies in Israel




ISE alum Rob Augman reports:

On Saturday, August 6th, roughly 350,000 people (5% of the population) took part in mass protests calling for social justice, the largest protest in the country’s history. Like the recent Arab Spring protests and the European protests against austerity measures, what’s being called the “Israeli Summer” began on July 14th, when a Facebook call was made to camp out on a major boulevard in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against rental prices. The tent city blossomed and began to emerge in multiple cities across the country. The original protest brought attention to broader material issues, including commodity prices, and the protesters often describe the protests as their revolution, most agreeing on the need for an expanded welfare state, for free education, and at least a basic safety net. The tent cities have also been the site of popular assemblies for open discussions amongst participants and/or passerby. The Histadrut, the umbrella trade union, has joined the protests, as well as the National Student Union; taxi drivers have blocked roads in support of the protests; the “stroller” protest showed that parents are are involved, and demanding government intervention in the economy to bring down basic expenses; doctors and nurses are also out on strike; senior citizens demonstrated against privatization; and a few examples of participation amongst Jews and Arabs together in tent cities and protest marches show that it might be the basis for in roads into addressing “the national issue” as well.

The following links provide information on the protests:

For an introduction to the protests, see here: “The Angry Tent Cities of Israel”

And for an economic analysis see here: It’s all about real-estate: Understanding the tent protests

Two sites for regular updates are Labour Start and 972 Magazine. And the website of the protest movement is here: J14.

[Editor’s note: The Philadelphia-based Shalom Center recommends a Real News Network video that can be seen here. It begins with people chanting:  “Our answer to privatization: Revolution,” and features multi-ethnic crowds in the streets of Tel Aviv calling for revolution against the policies of the Netanyahu government.]