'We want to improve lives, not make a revolution'

Activists from outside Tel Aviv: Rothschild tent city movement is losing sight of its original goals.

By
August 19, 2011 04:55
3 minute read.
Social justice protest in Haifa

Haifa protest 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

In a secret meeting in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, representatives of tent cities across the country discussed how to make their voices heard in the protests and whether they should split from the movement.

Sitting at a large round table in a café across the street from the tent city in Rothschild Boulevard, they spoke of their frustration with their movement’s leadership.

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They are beginning to feel that the “Rothschild Children” have become focused on creating a revolution rather than on making real changes that will help Israelis now.

The representatives at the table came from the Center, the Right and the Left. All were in agreement that they should stand by the original direction of the protests and focus on economics, not politics.

Fighting to make their voices heard over the din from the nearby crowds and the other people in the restaurant, they nonetheless kept their voices low, and asked that their identities remain secret, for now.

“We want to do this, without seeming as if we are breaking up the unity,” “Gil” said.

“We are amazed by what has been happening this summer – and we love seeing the way that people have come together. We don’t want to undermine that, but we don’t like the direction the movement has been taking.

We are here every day.

We hear what people are saying and the frustration is starting to build. People want to see change, but every time the government offers something, the ‘leaders’ of the tent movement reject it. Summer will be coming to an end soon; we want to achieve something,” Gil said.

“Yes,” agreed “Boaz.” “We see that people are starting to get angry and we are afraid that this is going to blow up in everyone’s faces.

If the summer ends without some real accomplishments then all of this goodwill could turn to violence.

“But as of now, the leadership of the tent city has not provided a realistic list of demands, there is no cooperation with the government.

Now they are starting to talk about starting their own political party.

“This is all too much. We don’t want to overthrow the government. We don’t want a revolution. Israel has been seeing unprecedented economic growth and we just want the needs of the people to be taken into account. We want economic changes so that our economy can continue to grow – not to move backward,” Boaz said.

The conversation was heated, with people discussing different core issues and a variety of tactics. The larger table split into small group discussions and people changed seats, often moving from one side of the table to the other.

“We are losing people,” “Rachel” said. “People agree that there are real economic problems in this country, but they are afraid that this protest movement is all part of a left-wing agenda, and there is some truth in that.

“The people at the Rothschild tent city are moving further and further to the Left, but that is not what we want. Right now we are speaking softly, but soon we will be a much louder voice.”

The meeting wrapped up quickly as people headed back to their tent cities, their families and work in the morning.

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