Saturday, July 16, 2011

Social Rage, Political Rage: ISRAEL

Just in from ynet.  Extremely interesting, and also very instructive on some aspects of the Israeli Jewish Society and their political perspective.

English translation (joint effort by Google and me) below:,7340,L-4096161,00.html

Demonstrators threw cups of cottage cheese on Mecudat Ze'ev

Dozens of young people gathered in Gan Meir in Tel Aviv to protest the high cost of living. The protesters promised a "Week of Wrath" as they marched toward the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard. On their way they threw cups of cottage cheese at Likud headquarters.[Mecudat Ze'ev]. The activists disagreed on whether to the consumer struggle to the struggle against the occupation. "We will lose half of the people"

16:07:11, 22:3
Dozens of young people gathered this evening (Saturday) in Gan Meir in Tel Aviv to protest the cost of living in Israel. The protests were organized on Facebook and the organizers promised an escalation of the struggle in the coming week.  The protesters were marching to join the group of young activists already camping on Rothchild Boulevard [since Friday] bombarding the Likud headquarters with cups of cottage cheese on their way. 
When the demonstrators reached Rothschild Blvd. they were greeted by the camping tenters assembled there with a thunderous applause.
On their way they were chanting slogans such as "no income, no education – let's overthrow the government."
Many of the youths who gathered in Gan Meir were left wing activists, who proposed, as wouldbe natural from their perspective, to divide the gathered crowd into three groups: one to deal with the oncoming struggle against the erosion of democracy, one to protest the rising cost of living and a third to discuss the struggle against the occupation.
As soon as this suggestion became known, however, some in the crowd protested that they do not understand the connection between their social struggle and political views against the occupation.  Ricky Yishay, one of the protesters, told Ynet: "Once a protest is identified with a political position, even if the social-economic position is right, but it is still identified with a particular political position, I do not want to be part of it because I have right-wing views and so do many others here."
She says, "the minute you connect this social protest against cost of living, which I consider legitimate, with the issue of the occupation, you lose me and half of this nation."  Itay Zalhit added "Some do not believe there is an occupation and others believe there is.  To involve ourselves in this means to involve ourselves in the military budget which we are not interested in.  It is a trump card that people use:  the trump card of occupation and security".

([picture caption] Grated Cottage Cheese Cup.  Cottege cheese has become a symbol [because of its excessive cost and because of having already triggered a powerful protest]

Eilat Maoz, one of the activists associated with the left, argued, on the other hand, that "the Week of Wrath is an accumulation of actions based on frustration and dissatisfaction and a deep sense that we must stop this government which is an occupier, which is violent, which destroys our democracy and which propels us all into poverty. During this week we will conduct daily actions against the cost of living,  against racism and against the right-wing rampage that is dangerous to us all. "
She says, "More and more people realize that we must go to the street [to protest]. Protest against the boycott law across the political spectrum proved this week that people are beginning to recognize the connection between the settlement project and control over another people and the hardships of their daily lives in Israel. Still, the protest is organized in such a fashion that each action will focus on a different topic and people are invited to express their frustration on what is most painful to them."

The organizers of the camping protest in Tel Aviv criticized the act of throwing cottage cheese on Likud headquarters and expressed dissatisfaction at the attempt to link their struggle to politics ."We advocate nonviolent protests and condemn any instance of violence," sources told Ynet, "Our protest is not connected with any party. This is street [=popular] protest with one clear purpose: allowing affordable housing to the public. The thousands of demonstrators who support us and who come here to sleep in tents are from across the political spectrum, indicating the very specific nature of this protest."


  1. Hagit, the press in Israel has gotten more and more critical of the Biberman government in the past few months, including columnists who you wouldn't necessarily identify with the left. Know hope.

  2. Fascinating Hagit. Just what you were telling me on the bus that night