Thousands demonstrate in Tel Aviv for workers' rights

Carrying red flags and banners from numerous left-wing parties, the demonstrators marched from Habima Square to Meir Park shouting slogans against "shilton hahon," or "the money regime" in English.

May 1, 2014 19:51
2 minute read.

May Day protest. (photo credit: LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI)


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Thousands of people marched in Tel Aviv Thursday evening to mark International Workers Day.

Carrying red flags and banners from numerous left-wing parties, the demonstrators marched from Habima Square to Meir Park shouting slogans against "shilton hahon," or "the money regime" in English.

Hadash MK Dov Henin, who was among the demonstrators, carried a sign calling on the government to raise the minimum wage to NIS 30 per hour.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) wished workers a happy May 1 in a blog post on a Labor-affiliated website.

"In recent years in Israel, this date once again became a symbol of the battle of working people," Herzog wrote. "They saw the unwritten pact between them and the government, that if they contribute to society and work hard they can live in dignity, break." Herzog also praised the recent wave of new unions being formed "from Pelephone to Domino Pizza." "They refuse to accept the existing situation and are fighting for their conditions. They are determined, full of ideology and are inspiring. This is their day and I salute them," he added.

Meretz hosted a screening of the documentary "The Seven Circles of Hell in Public Housing" in Meir Park in Tel Aviv Thursday night.

"We've become a society of castes and classes," MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) lamented.

Gilon added: "One line connects hundreds of thousands of workers and the thousands waiting for public housing, who demand to exercise their right to a roof over their heads. We want to bring the state back from real estate tycoons and manpower company pimps to the citizens, its real owner." MK Dov Henin (Hadash), who led the march to raise minimum wage, said that in 2014, marking the first of May is as relevant as ever.

Hanin listed the many goals of the march: "We want the people who live here to really be able to live here, for the working man to have a roof over his head, for the elderly not to have to choose between food and medicine, for women to have equal pay, for workers to be employed by and receive their rights from their workplace [as opposed to manpower companies], that people won't be discriminated against because they're Arabs or handicapped or gay or over 40, and that the government's money will be invested in raising minimum wage and poor neighborhoods instead of bombs and settlements.

"There is nothing old or irrelevant about demanding that men and women living here now have a future of equality and peace," he added.

Meanwhile, the New Liberal Movement held a memorial service for the victims of socialism and communism, titled "Remembrance Day for 100 Million Murdered" in Tel Aviv.

Boaz Arad, one of the New Liberal Movement's founders, said "when facing those who glorify some of the worst perpetrators of genocide in history, we need to remember the tens of millions who all they did was live under red flags and suffered from the biggest social experiment ever. The first of May should be a memorial day."

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