Tahrir Square comes to Israel

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Commentary: Tahrir Square in Jerusalem | The National Interest

    Some say that the "Arab Spring"—the succession of popular protests that has swept the Arab world for the past six months, from Tunisia through Egypt and Bahrain, to Yemen, Jordan and Syria—has now reached Israel.

    For the past fortnight, Israel's city streets and interurban thoroughfares have been swept by a wave of (relatively) small demonstrations, mostly by 20-35 year olds, protesting against the lack of accessible housing. Most young Israelis find themselves renting apartments at costs that eat up half their monthly salaries, and with little prospect of buying a home of their own.

    The protests are almost unprecdented. Israel enjoys a healthy, sometimes turbulent democracy, and demonstrations are common, by Right and Left. But they are always about foreign policy—what to do about the Arabs, what to do with the settlements, make—or don't make—concessions for peace, etc. Famously, in 1982, after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla camps on the outskirts of Beirut by right-wing Christian Arab militiamen, an alleged 400,000 Israelis, more than a tenth of the country's population, converged in a mass demonstration on downtown Tel Aviv, demanding that the government appoint a commission of inquiry. (Then prime minister Menachem Begin acceded, and defense minister Ariel Sharon was forced to resign.)

    But Israelis almost never mount the barricades to protest internal matters (except for the ultra-orthodox, who perennially demonstrate against violations of the Sabbath). The last major bout of internal protest was back in the early 1970s, by Sephardi youngsters— dubbed "the Black Panthers"—demonstrating against alleged discrimination and poverty.

    This month's demonstrators have blocked roads and squatted outside the prime minister's house in Jerusalem. They have set up small tent encampments, à la Cairo's Tahrir Square, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Most of the demonstrations are without police permits. A few protesters have been arrested. Many of them, perhaps most, are children of well-educated middle-class families. They are receiving a measure of encouragement from politicians, both within the governing coalition and outside it.

    In response, the government has begun to deliberate freeing up lands for the construction of cheap housing. House prices in Israel are high—in Tel Aviv even a very modest apartment can cost around $500,000 —while wages are low—most Israelis earn about $20-25,000 a year, heavily taxed—and mortgages are very expensive and usually cover no more than two-thirds of the cost of an apartment. Much of the expense is due to the price of land, which is scarce. Freeing agricultural land for construction would push prices down.

    The demonstrators' main tent "city" has gone up on Rothschild Boulevard, in the heart of Tel Aviv. There is a double irony here. The boulevard is named after possibly the world's richest Jewish dynasty. And just over a century ago, a few hundred yards away, Jewish settlers established a small tent encampment amid the fin de siècle sand dunes and scrub—marking the spot from which this metropolis eventually expanded and developed.
     
  2.  
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Israel is beginning to celebrate a new independence - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News


    Tel Aviv was bursting at the seams on Saturday night. It was not the mother of all protests - it was the grandmother of all protests. The city looked like one of the stormiest cities on earth. Streams of people were flowing in every direction, some on foot, some in cars. Buses and trains spewed out the crowds, and not everyone even managed to get to the area of the protest. An amazingly large sign, in Hebrew and Arabic - the latter faces a threat to its status as an official language in this country - read "Egypt is here."

    Indeed, the pictures last night looked like the nights of Tahrir Square. Now the comparison to the Cairo revolution is not exaggerated or wishful thinking. Now it really does resemble it, not including the violence, of course.

    And really, when size talks, as it did on Saturday night, violence is not needed. A regime that remains impassive to such gigantic rallies would be completely insensitive, and in any case is destined to fall.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can go on joking with his ministers; his fate is sealed. The cynics can continue tsk-tsking and talking about the "confused" and "spoiled" protest, and yet, a protest it is, the likes of which has never been seen here.

    Yesterday Israel celebrated its independence. That's the way Independence Eve looked in our childhood. That's the way independence looks when a people becomes free, when it wakes up from its winter and summer hibernation. After all the years of being dammed up the flood has come. Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke of a tsunami come September? The tsunami is already here. It has flooded in from the least expected place. The sensor towers and the radar at the Kirya, the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, which see everything, at whose foot the masses gathered, could not predict this wave.

    The masses were gathered near one of the symbols of the state, the Kirya. This is where a small group of people stood during the accursed nights of the Second Lebanon War and the first Operation Cast Lead, holding torches, and no one paid attention. Yesterday, you couldn't make a path through the crowds. At the gates of the Kirya, to which most of the state budget is allocated, far beyond its needs, the crowd shouted: "The people want social justice."

    True, the call was no longer directed at the Kirya, as it should have been. The masses are not yet besieging its iron gates. But perhaps that too will come. Meanwhile, this huge mass is threatening not only Netanyahu's government, but, ironically, the protest itself.

    Can such a mass be united around clear goals? Will the people who came to listen to Yehudit Ravitz, Rita and Shlomo Artzi still be a subversive fighting force? On Saturday, the anger and the enthusiasm that were the hallmark of the first protests made way for a festive atmosphere. An Israel festival, a city carnival.

    One woman, who said she was a Lieberman supporter, said she had come to see the miracle of Israel unified.

    Perhaps that is the self-confidence of the protest, that it no longer needs anger. Perhaps that is a harbinger. But all the speakers, including an Orthodox rabbi, a retired Black Panther and an Arab intellectual, were clear: The music has got to change.

    But last night most of the speakers, surprisingly, were careful to respect the prime minister. Perhaps the size frightened them. Perhaps it was the sight of the cage in Cairo and perhaps the fear of a return to the left-right camps in Israeli society, and the desire to embrace it all.

    That might finish them off; this might end in tears. But no one argues with success. And Saturday was a huge success. And yet, the great test is still ahead of them, still ahead of us.
     
  4. pack leader

    pack leader Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    504
    Location:
    the holy land
    don't post haarez articals they misrepresent the average Israeli
    haarez is a hard core leftist news paper hated by most Israelis

    now to the issue at hand :
    there are massive coast of living and housing shortage demonstrations
    nothing less nothing more .
     
    maomao likes this.
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    4,404
    Likes Received:
    2,783
    Location:
    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    Has this occurred because of government ban on new settlements? Or is it due to economic constraints? Because from here, Israel looks pretty fine to us in economy. Why the problem? And if leftists are so much problem, why do you even allow them? I mean there are ways to dispose them off politics that don't need to be mentioned.

    But I am not surprised; Leftists are always traitors to local customs and the land wherever they are. They always hug enemies and crush patriots.
     
    maomao likes this.
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Well not only haretz but all papers are reporting it. Its the biggest mass protests ever seen in recent time in Israel and there are plans for a million strong demonstrations later in the month.

    The amazing thing is that people from all walks of life and from all divides young/old, Arabs/Jews and professionals are joining in the protests.

    Here is a RT news report


    @Tshering22
    The current govt. has unfortunately not stopped settlement expansion. The fact is that a majority of the Israeli public actually SUPPORT dismantling settlements. So if the govt. had done that, you would not see such huge protests but mostly settlers opposing it. Here is a 2010 public opinion survey indicating that opinion against settlements has reached a five year high.
    Israeli Public's Support for Dismantling Most Settlements Has Risen to a Five-Year High - World Public Opinion

    As packleader mentioned, its about economic conditions mainly and the demands for social justice. The protests have been going on for about a month now and from this week onwards it has gathered this huge momentum. I guess it is expected that after electing a far right and a loony right coalition to power, the balancing power of the people well now move it towards the centre again.

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Arts, Entertainment News, Music, Film, Television, Opera & Ballet News at WSJ.com - Wsj.com

    [​IMG]

    TEL AVIV—Massive demonstrations across Israel against the high cost of living point to a revival in the fortunes of the country's long-dormant left-wing movement, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to focus on economic policy at a time when he enjoys broad support for his handling of policy toward the Palestinians.

    In a break with an older generation of Israeli leftists, demonstrators initially dismissed as spoiled youths in Tel Aviv have reached across the country's left-right divide by focusing exclusively on pocketbook issues rather than contested Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Although Mr. Netanyahu's coalition doesn't appear in danger in the short term, it could become vulnerable if the economy plays a role in the next election.

    Acknowledging the protests reflect "genuine distress," Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday appointed a committee of cabinet ministers and economic experts to formulate proposals for overhauls. He cautioned, however, that "we won't satisfy everyone."

    On Saturday night, more than 250,000 protesters across Israel demonstrated while waving red flags symbolizing old-time socialist political movements, and chanting for "social justice" and a "welfare state." Over the past three weeks, a small tent city in central Tel Aviv protesting runaway rents has snowballed into Israel's largest demonstrations in recent memory, despite Mr. Netanyahu's efforts to demonstrate attentiveness amid the criticism. Real-estate values have gone up more than a third nationwide over the past four years.

    Mr. Netanyahu's government doesn't appear under immediate threat because none of the parties in his coalition are threatening to leave over the protests, and the impact on his foreign policy is likely to be limited. Over the past decade, left-wing political parties in Israel have been decimated at the polls by the collapse of the peace process and don't constitute a formidable parliamentary opposition.

    "There is a rebirth of a new left," said Dov Khenin, an Israeli parliament member from the far-left Hadash party. "At the moment, there is no political leadership. It is an open question where all this energy will go."

    Protesters are rallying a middle class anxious that it can't make ends meet, despite high economic growth and low unemployment. Demonstration leaders claim the government isn't doing enough to offset runaway real-estate prices in large cities, boost a faltering public-education system, and to invest in public health and transportation networks.

    Culture Minister Limor Livnat told Israel Radio on Sunday that many supporters of Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party have joined the protests, offering evidence of how a movement initially disparaged as a group of spoiled leftist youths in Tel Aviv has spilled over Israel's right-left political divide.

    Both Mr. Netanyahu and Ms. Livnat said on Sunday that Israel's government couldn't risk breaking its fiscal discipline at a time of global uncertainty over the downgrade of U.S. government debt.

    Protest leaders have succeeded in appealing to the Israeli mainstream by exclusively focusing on domestic socioeconomic issues rather than how the government's financial support for contested Jewish settlements in the West Bank figures into the economy, a break with an older generation of Israeli leftists.

    "In order to be seen as universal as possible in Israeli society, [demonstrators have] said, 'Folks, this isn't about the left-right divide on the Palestinian peace process,' " said Sam Lehman Wilzig, a political-science professor at Bar Ilan University.

    Speaking to a packed and sweaty crowd of 200,000 stretching for blocks in central Tel Aviv, Dafni Leif, a 26-year-old video editor who started the protest with a Facebook page, assailed Mr. Netanyahu's policies as "extremist capitalist." Similar criticism played a role in Mr. Netanyahu's election defeat in 2006, when economic issues were prominent.

    Mr. Lehman Wilzig said the protesters aren't advocating a return to Israel's socialist economy of the 1950s and 1960s, but are demanding more intervention to promote equal access to education and more competition in an economy dominated by a few large tycoons.

    The movement could be overshadowed next month, when the Palestinians prepare a bid for full United Nations membership. Mr. Netanyahu is less likely to abandon his traditional right-wing political base for a surprise diplomatic compromise amid pressure from the center and left.

    Despite the approaching showdown at the U.N., political commentators suggest that the size and duration of the demonstrations could reshape Israel's public agenda over the longer term. If the public thinks there has been no progress, that would create a domestic opening to challenge Mr. Netanyahu in the next election.

    "This is no fleeting whim, a one-time event, but something that is congealing into a mass movement," wrote Nahum Barnea, a columnist for the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot. "Netanyahu and his ministers won't be able to ignore this outcry. Not because they believe that that outcry is justified, but because it reflects a force that threatens their continued hold on power."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  7. pack leader

    pack leader Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    504
    Location:
    the holy land
    two answers :
    1) we have serious Bureaucracy issues it takes 5-7 years to approve new construction plans + three major construction company's manipulating the housing market for profit + major economic growth creates unattainable exceptions among the young and naive
    2) all sorts off political misfits the ( extreme left , the ultra orthodox , anarchists ) smell blood in the water and seek to undermine the democratically elected government
    Mr . ejazr i don't know about your pole but fact is that most Israelis voted for this government
    and approve off it don't get your hopes up this did not and will not change the basic political power balance in Israel


    BTW : no new settlements were created since 1995
     
    maomao likes this.
  8. Arunpillai

    Arunpillai Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    S. India
    I thought the protest in israel were more like the Greek protests, not like tahrir square.
     

Share This Page