It was amazing! Such an amount of people walking and chanting in good mood, wanting to do something good for their society and themselves is something really outstanding. 280K people in Tel Aviv, 30K in Jerusalem and thousands in other cities.
A quick calculation shows that almost 5% of the Israelis were demonstrating, or an even more striking number - about 10% of the tax payers.
The very broad coalition that fuels this movement seems intact at this point. It seems that while the momentum is kept the differences in the movement won't really damage it. An historical leader of a low class demonstrations gave a speech: "40 years I have been awaiting this moment...I was losing faith..." he said. He embraced the middle class leaders of this movement and cracked the governments chorus claiming this are all 'sushi protesters'.
It is enlightening to see that most of the Israeli public after all believes in a just society. A society where people are equal, where working people can live with dignity and where the poor and needed are being taken care by the state. Nobody really wants a social state, but people definitely cried for a welfare state. People believe that a competitive market and hard working can go hand by hand with a just and relatively equal society.
We, Israelis, were always proud that Israel has no poor people like in the 3rd world, that its streets are safe and people are easy going. Things have changed and the public, from all sectors, wants to get back 'their state', the one they knew before. It seems that there are very little economic right wing people in Israel. The tradition of Jewish caring for community and Zionist Socialism is still latent (economically speaking of course) - it seems that the civil studies classes in elementary school weren't in vain. People in the street were talking about financial problems in the USA - everyone are aware that something must change in the system, but without destroying it.
We want back our mutual guarantee, in which members of society are helping each other in case of need.
We want a country and society of which we'll be proud. A special place on earth. We want to make things differently. We want to fix our realm and make it exemplary.
Now, let's see how the politics turn out and translates the after shocks of this movement.
Another interesting point will be to see how the Arab citizens of Israel will react to this movement and to their participation in it. The Zionist zeal to build an exemplary society is something they'll have to react to and find their place - hopefully within the consensus. As to our neighbors, I hope that the message of having masses in the streets without anyone shooting them will resound all over the middle east.
Last but not least - do not make mistakes or assumptions. This is a pure social-economical movement. Any mentioning of the Israeli-Palestinian issue will tear it apart. Things aren't disconnected, but it is hard to anticipate how this experience will influence the Israelis and their neighbors.
I promise to upload some pictures from the demonstration tomorrow morning. Now, I'm finally off to bed.