The Council of Local Authorities held a one-day strike, but in Tel Aviv not too
many citizens skipped work for what was to be a nationwide event launched on
Facebook last week.
Though it received a good deal of hype in the media,
and over 22,000 people RSVP’d the strike on Facebook, at least in the coastal
city, it was business as usual on Monday. The streets were clogged with traffic
and the cafes and restaurants were jammed with tourists and locals, and there
were almost no storefronts left shuttered in the midday sun.
solidarity with the strike, the Council of Local Authorities ordered work
disruptions in towns throughout Israel on Monday, by far the largest collective
act of participation in the protest.
Council head Shlomo Buhbut said
Monday that most local authorities were taking part in the strike, “out of the
hope that we can forge a unified effort to prevent Israeli society from entering
Those local authorities that participated closed their doors to
residents either for all or some of the day.
Buhbut said the council
cannot stand in opposition to what he referred to as “a broad-scale social
protest” that is dealing with “the social collapse of the middle class, and we
are in need of a wide-range of solutions on many social issues, not only the
Several Tel Aviv eateries joined the call and shut
their doors to allow their employees to take part in the strike. The restaurants
included well-known spots such as Nanutchka, HaBasta, HaMeorav and Joz
“We imagined a day in which wait-staff, bouncers, cashiers,
bartenders, DJs and cooks wouldn’t go to work. On this day, the city would not
look the same. The people who work for a living in this city are the ones who
power it. A strike on our behalf will disrupt the daily rhythm of Israel,” the
group’s Facebook page stated.
One of those restaurateurs taking part was
Maoz Alonim of HaBasta, who said he closed his doors in order “to be part of
this and do our part and raise awareness that we need wide-scale social
Alonim said his 30 employees were the ones who first came up
with the idea, and that they were all on board. He said all those who work at
the restaurant face the same housing and quality-of-life issues affecting
protesters across the country.
The mass nationwide strike that didn’t
happen was launched on a Facebook page opened by Tzvika Besor and a number of
other friends, including Yoni Shadmi, 30, of Tel Aviv.
Shadmi, who works
in the Tel Aviv University History Department, said the idea to call for the
strike was driven by their desire “to do something that can bring a change,”
adding that people needed no convincing to sign up for the
Shadmi said the idea was to have people find a way to take
the day off from work and spend it with their family.
The original plan
was for the strikers to head to Jerusalem where they would march on the Knesset,
a plan that was nixed when organizers could not receive a permit.
end they settled on holding a gathering at Hayarkon Park in north Tel Aviv,
where participants took turns expressing their grievances on a
The crowd of around 100 or so people looked like a miniature
version of the "baby strollers" march from last week.