Grapevine: Social justice, from Jaffa to Jerusalem

Artists, actors, musicians, human rights activists and MKs will take part in a solidarity demonstration with east Jerusalem’s El-Hakawati Theater.

Social justice protest Tel Aviv 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Social justice protest Tel Aviv 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
AFTER LAST Saturday night’s social justice protest in Tel Aviv, a social justice protest of another genre will take place this Saturday night in Jaffa. Artists, actors, musicians, human rights activists and MKs will take part in a solidarity demonstration with east Jerusalem’s El-Hakawati Theater, which was closed by government officials prior to last month’s scheduled week-long puppet festival for children. Known as the Palestinian national theater, the El-Hakawati has been hosting the festival for 18 years, and it is one of the highlights in the calendar of local children. It has always included puppet theater groups from abroad, in addition to Israeli Arab groups.
The reason given by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch for preventing the festival from being staged at its regular venue or anywhere else in the country was because its funding allegedly came from the Palestinian Authority, which contradicts a clause in the Oslo Accords that states that no PA-sponsored event can be held in Israel without prior legal permission.
Organizers were aghast and told various reporters that there was no political content in the plays being performed.
The solidarity demonstration, which begins at 9 p.m. at Mahsan 2 in Jaffa, will also be attended by Muhammad Halika, the theater’s director. This is not the first protest; the Israeli actors who are the voices behind the local production of Sesame Street immediately opened a Facebook page against the closing.
ACCORDING TO a Ma’ariv report, haredi anti-Zionist policy goes way beyond opposition to service in the IDF. In Bnei Brak, a large segment of which is a haredi enclave, the local municipal council – regardless of the fact that it receives its budget from a ministry in a Zionist government – wants to eradicate all reminders of the Zionist entity from the city’s street names, and replace them with the names of leading haredi personalities or institutions.
This has already been implemented on a small scale, making Bnei Brak one of the few cities in Israel with a predominantly Jewish population to be without a Herzl Street – the most common name for a street in Israel. The Ma’ariv report states that what was once Herzl Street is now Harav Schach Street, and what was once Sharett Street (named for Israel’s second prime minister), is now Harav Poverski Street.
The religious Zionists and secularists living in Bnei Brak are furious because so many of the streets destined for name changes were named for the founding fathers of the nation, who despite political differences were all Zionists. Without their dedication and determination, say the opponents of the change, the state would not have come into existence, and the non-Zionists would still be living in the Diaspora. It was the Zionists who created the conditions that made Israel sufficiently attractive for non-Zionists to immigrate. Streets currently designated for name changes are Kibbutz Galuyot, which will become Harav Shlomo Berman – a former head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva; Jerusalem Street (apparently another Zionist bone in the throat) to Harav Yitzhak Shlomo Ungar Street; while Second Aliya Street will be changed to The Admor From Lublin Street; and Em Hamoshavot will become Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shapira Street.
Mayor Avraham Rubinstein has indicated that there will be complete transparency in the name changes. Where streets were previously named after a person, that person’s relatives will be invited to state their objections, as will people living on or near the street in question. The council’s committee for street names will also invite the family of the person whose name will replace an existing street name to hear their opinions, though it seems unlikely that they would raise objections unless they were sufficiently honorable to consider the feelings of the family whose relative’s name is to be erased.
There has been sufficient confusion by continuing changes of bus routes.
Now, with the changing of street names there will be total chaos, not to mention unbridled frustrations.
IS GLAMOUR a factor in municipal elections? Former international male model Dudi Belser, best known on the local scene for promoting Castro and Fox fashions, is No. 3 on the Yesh Atid list for the Rishon Lezion municipal elections.
Belser, now a lawyer and businessman, who last year together with supermodel Bar Refaeli launched Internet-based underwear company Under Me, lived abroad for several years. He returned to Israel two years ago, and currently lives in Tel Aviv.
For election purposes, he will return to Rishon Lezion, where he was born and raised, and will undoubtedly remain there if he wins a seat on the council. He may decide to live there anyway, as he’s due to be married soon and real-estate prices in Rishon Lezion are not yet as exorbitant as those in Tel Aviv.