Saturday, August 6, 2011

Where is the Israeli tents protest going to

Over the last week the Israeli tents movements saw the biggest raise in support. On one hand civil organizations like taxi drivers union, women of policemen, fragments of the teachers unions, the young physicians and the milk producers are just but a few of those who joined the movement. On the other hand, for the first time right wing and religious political organizations joined the tents' cities and left aside the arguments that "these are all leftists". Even the Arab sector which was till now cautious, not sure whether they'll be welcomed, joined the peaceful demonstrations.

Tent camps were set up in many new locations in new cities and in cities which already had camps. The police tried to remove some of these. However, SMSs and Facebook immediately brought reinforcements and made the police and municipalities to retreat. A judge that discussed the case of protesters that stopped the traffic in a street released them saying they should be praised and not arrested. The tents camps are voting on the demands list that should be presented to the government.

Juan says this is great. It's an inclusive movement and not an exclusive demonstration, thus making a bigger impact than the Spaniard Indignados movement, M-15. Indeed, we are about to experiment in Israel what would have happened if the Spanish movement had turned out differently.

So, if all looks good - why am I worried?

As more and more organizations are joining there are more people and interests to satisfy. The longer the protest takes the more chances there are that one of our neighbors will make a favor to the government and start with a new round of hostilities. Actually, this week several rockets were launched from Gaza to Israel, heating pretty close to the tents camp in the city of Ashkelon.

There aren't yet any clear demands from the government. Some of the leaders of tent camps started questioning the legitimacy of the leadership of the founders of the first camp in Tel Aviv. This is a gift for the government who's looking for any way to discredit and murk the leaders of the movement.

But on top of everything the main problem is that everyone speak about only one of the two main problems - the brutal capitalism imposed on Israel in the past 20 years.

Since everyone wants an inclusive movement, no one speaks about the fact that several sectors in the Israeli society do not share the burden carried by the low and middle classes. The Arab, Beduin and Ultra orthodox populations who make much more children than what they can support and live in chosen or imposed poverty (all have dedicated parties who take care of them), the settlers in Judea and Samaria who get big subsidies from the government. These are all complicated issues which are put aside right now. The low-middle class is demonstrating, demanding social justice - but social justice equals to money, and currently  the same low-middle class is the main tax payer in the country.

The overall problem is a matter of values - the western and capitalist values. People without knowing are opposed to the values of plain figures oriented capitalism. They support the value of men and women, their natural rights...but all these still can't be discussed. Something, I can't explain what, isn't mature yet.

The government means to keep using capitalist methods to tackle the situation - they have an hammer to they'll keep looking for nails to hit.... and the leaders of the movement keep saying 'we don't want to throw the government' and they don't have yet a defined list of demands.

Currently, it seems that the most important change this movement will do is throwing the Israelis back into the street, teaching them they can and should fight for their social and economical rights and not only for a secure survival in the tormentuous middle east. Let's hope this will teach people to be more critical and analyze the real problems, the failure of the existing political system and values.

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