Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 30 Demonstration - The Israeli Middle Class takes the streets

It's definitely getting interesting over here. The march and demonstration on Saturday's night was the biggest till now. Other demonstrations and rallies took place in all the main cities. The newspapers say 150K people were present. It is 2% of the Israeli population!

This time we could feel for the first time a significant presence of right wing people. They were there before, but this time is was very notable. As one of them told me - an executive in a software company: "at the beginning I thought it is an issue led by leftists in order to overthrow the right wing government. Now I understand it's a matter of all the people. You see, he continued - I would like an American economy - low taxes - but if I'm paying taxes so high here, I'd like at least to get the benefits of a welfare state".

Every Israeli was educated that the aim of our society is to do things differently, to be a just societey, to put the education in the center, to respect the old and poor. It seems now that the general conscience has awaken and it is pointing a finger towards the government - toward the system.

The leaders of this movement keep voicing vague demands, though obviously very costy: free education, free health care, accessible housing, abolition of outsourcing for low income salaries, better payment for teachers, policemen, fire-fighters, social workers, stopping the brutal privatization (for an instance of the education system) and turning back the wheel of stripping of the state's responsibility for social issues and entrusting it to private civil society associations.

What I am missing now, is the understanding of the people in the street that while they come to the government with material demands  they keep playing the game of money in which the government and the finances ministry bureaucrats are much better. On the other hand, the global system is capitalist, if the government will accept all the changes our economy will not probably gain points in the international market.

So, what is needed is a values' shift. A true commitment of government and citizens to make a  change. A change of values, of what's important, of commitment in our own behavior and thinking to bring the change.

The government in a democracy like ours is after all a mirror view of the public.

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1 comment:

  1. [...] first demonstration was big, but the second one was huge and it already had siblings in many cities! It was the first one it was clear to everyone that not [...]