Protesters in Jerusalem 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Nearly 1,000 people marched through downtown Jerusalem on Thursday evening
demanding an increase in funds for public education, as part of the
revolutionary spirit for social justice sweeping the country.
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demonstrators marched from Gan Hasus (Horse Park) in King George Road, the
epicenter of the tent protests, and ended at the Education Ministry next to the
Mea She’arim neighborhood.
Hundreds marched in Beersheba and Kiryat
Shmona, and more than 1,000 marched in Tel Aviv.
Chanting “the nation
demands public education!” the march drew a more diverse crowd than the tent
demonstrations this week, with hundreds of teachers and children.
marchers protested against a shrinking budget, unequal distribution of funds, a
lack of support for informal educational programs, and other
“Israel’s great teachers, like David Yellin and Janusz Korczak,
would be really sad if they saw the state of Israeli education today,” Amnon
Rabinovich, the director of the Jerusalem Awakening activist movement, who is
also a history and citizenship teacher at Ziv High School, told the crowd
outside the Education Ministry.
Protest organizers expressed satisfaction
with the march, which they claimed was the largest demonstration for public
education in five years.
“It’s hard to get teachers out the house,” said
march organizer Yair Fink, one of the central figures at the tent protest in
“I think it’s really wonderful that they’re out here asking
for changes in the educational system,” said another history teacher, also named
Amnon, who had his four-year-old daughter on his shoulders. “It’s really
important that she comes also to see this,” he said.
Some have criticized
the protest movement for trying to incorporate too many causes and requests into
their list of demands, pointing out that with too many causes, the core issues
will get lost in a sea of noise.
Amnon denied that the tent protest
demanding an improvement in education would cause a lack of
“Everything belongs to the same idea: social justice,” he
said. “It’s all connected – apartments, healthcare, education, social issues –
they all come together.”
Others joined the protest with more specific
demands within the general call for an improvement in public
Over 100 master’s and doctoral students and adjunct lecturers
from universities and colleges across the country joined to protest their
situation as contracted workers who are hired seasonally with no job
“We represent a general situation of the way people are
employed in Israel,” said Gadi Prudovsky, an adjunct lecturer in philosophy at
the Hebrew University and the University of Haifa. “The way the whole Israeli
job market is going is the direction in which employers want to buy work without
any commitment to the worker,” he said.
He added that in addition to
thousands of lecturers who work without contract, most of the manpower at
universities, including janitors and guards, also work without contracts.