Social justice protest 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Hours before a new increase in the price of gas and electricity, a few hundred
Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv in a march held to protest the rising
cost of living in Israel.
Organizers titled the protest “From Slavery to
Freedom,” a reference to the upcoming Passover holiday, which was also invoked
by a banner reading “The ten plagues of Bibi” and two protesters wearing pharaoh
The march set out from Rabin Square, where a small encampment was
set up earlier in the day with banners reading “We will no longer be friers
[suckers].” Protesters made their way to the Tel Aviv Museum, and blocked a
junction on Shaul Hamelech Street before being cleared out by
Weeks ahead of the protest, organizers handed out flyers saying
“We’re returning to the streets,” posturing Saturday’s protest as a relaunch of
the summer’s social justice protests that swept the country and brought hundreds of Israelis into the streets for
several mass protests.
Like the summer’s protests, demonstrators on
Saturday shouted for revolution and “social justice” as well as calls for
The invitation to the protest read, “The cost of
living, the disappearance of the middle class [and] the enlargement of social
gaps are not dictated by the heavens; rather, these are the fruits of the obtuse
policies of the government. There are better policies and more humane solutions;
society demands a new, social set of priorities.”
socioeconomic demonstrations, Knesset members participated Saturday night. At
least 10 MKs from Kadima were in attendance, including: Yoel Hasson, Yohanan
Plesner, Ronit Tirosh, Rachel Adatto, Nachman Shai, Nino Abesadze, Ze’ev
Bielski, Avi Duan, Shlomo Molla and Yulia Shamolov Berkovich.
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Kadima leader Tzipi Livni complained during her election campaign that
politicians were discouraged from attending last summer’s protests and that she
was prevented from taking a role in them.
“We won’t allow politicians to
be banned again,” Hasson said. “One of the lessons of last summer’s protest was
that avoiding politics was a mistake.
I told the organizers that even if
a million people come out to the streets, it’s still 120 people who make the
changes. We need to be embraced, especially the 55 of us in the
Livni’s successor, Shaul Mofaz, intends to refocus the party
on socioeconomic issues. He pushed MKs in his faction to attend the
“We have a new commander who ordered us to come and work
differently now,” said MK Ronit Tirosh.
“There were protesters who
cynically told us to leave. I understand them, but we intend to support them no
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