Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chronology of the Israeli protest – August 25

Today buses from all around the country carried protesters to Yeruham. Yeruham is a special place in the south of Israel. It's in the middle of the desert, suffers from the regular problems of any 10K people town that is far away from labor and finances centers.

1,500 people demonstrated in Yeruham supporting the tents camp started by a 16 years old leader.

We went to the tents camp in Rehovot, were people sat in a circle, read the demands phrased by the national movement. People from various social strata joined the circle and the discussion was lively and sharp. There were even a couple of guys from a misticism movement that tried to convince everyone that love among people is the most important thing and we shouldn't handle with demands form the government. A couple of researchers from a social think tank closed the evening with a long discussion into possible models of societies and their suggestion on focusing in investing resources in community and youth development on neighborhoods level.

In the past week the government got another 'gift'. A star celebrity who is a judge in the local version of 'American Idol' got arrested for alleged relations with the organized crime. A whole week that all the newspapers filled their headlines with this stuff instead of the important things, the social movement that still kicks and bites.

Though, the probably most serious problem faced by the protest till now was the demand of the leaders who grew from the tent camps themselves, to take part in the leadership. This quickly became a challenge of the "old" leaders vs. the camps leaders vs. the periphery leaders. Some of the leaders were mad about the frontal attack against the government's committee (it seems people want to believe things can be changed by the government).  Eventually, it seems that the 'old leaders' were smart enough to make a place for new faces besides them.  I have a strong feeling that some of this demands were nurtured by government supporters in some of the camps in order to remove the 'leftists' leader of the movement. I say 'leftists' because I can personally attest that this isn't so - not everyone who wants social justice or a sane free market is a socialist or a dove.

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