September 8, 2011 by IJV
Amazing video of the #j14 protest in Tel Aviv 3 September when up to 450,000 marched countrywide (in a country of 7.7 mill). Must watch: http://youtu.be/Sf5YNA51ANU
For those who don’t read Hebrew – several of the signs relate to the occupation (e.g., ‘A propos justice – what about the occupation?’) but most are for restoration of the welfare state, against big chain businesses, Israel’s tycoons, for social rights etc. The big rhythmic chant toward the end is ‘the people demand social justice’. I don’t know if this will ultimately bring deeper change including the core issue of injustice to Palestinians, but for the meantime, unquestionably enormous energy and potential.
Background for those who have not been following this – Israel’s economy is booming but gaps have yawned wider and wider between ultra rich and the rest. The top percentile is 14 times richer than poorest percentile, and in the middle, even full-time 2-salary families with academic degrees can barely afford to rent a flat in central Israel. The average working family’s income is measurably lower than average expenditure. Israel’s ten multibillionaire families (‘the tycoons’) control 30% of the economy including media and close connections to government. Until two decades ago Israel still considered itself a welfare state and the majority of people polled (86%) still believe today that the govt should be responsible to ensure affordable housing, public healthcare, free daycare, minimum income and affordable basic products. The movement brought out into the streets people who have been depoliticised for a generation. The outcome? Too soon to tell…