The Domestic Revolution

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“Whoa, this is like the Rabin Protest,” I overheard as I stood watching the mass protest here in front of Tel Aviv’s Art Museum, stretching down King Shaul Blvd. I was thinking the same thing exactly. The only time I can remember seeing so many people, so many posters, so many slogans and flags has been back then, the protests for (and against) the peace process in the 1990s. This time it’s different. This time the protests are, as the popular slogan here announces, “fighting for the home.” It was sparked by rent prices, but on stage at this rally a number of social causes are cheered on: the doctor’s call for reasonable wages, the social worker’s call for additional resources, the general economic call for reducing the influence of tycoons on the Israeli market. For strengthening the education system and blocking the government’s push for private schools. All domestic issues. All focused on standard of living, on every day issues. Could this be the awakening of a new age in Israeli politics–one where domestic issues trump foreign policies, where Israel decides to focus in and take on many of the challenges which were kept on the back burner in favor of foreign issues?

I sure hope so. Next to me, chanichim of the youth movement HaNoar HaOved are singing: “bread, apartments, and no to land sales” (deregulation of the land market). Such different cheers than protests past.

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