Over 1,000 mark May Day in Tel Aviv march

Amid talk of early elections and renewed summer social justice protests, demonstrators mark International Workers' Day.

Tel Aviv May Day march 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tel Aviv May Day march 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
With talk of early elections and the return of the “social justice” protests this summer, over 1,000 people marched through central Tel Aviv on Tuesday to mark International Workers Day.
Holding banners from several left-wing parties, the demonstrators called out chants that were common during the summer protests, including calls for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to resign.
Speaking from a podium at Rabin Square, where the march ended Tuesday night, Hadash MK Dov Henin spoke of how this year’s May 1 commemorations must signify the return of the summer protests.
“The first of May this year must symbolize the beginning of the summer,” he declared. “We must return the spirit of the summer and the social protest.”
He added that this summer, as opposed to the last, protests must translate into political change, saying, “If we want social justice, we need a different government.”
Like Henin, Labor MK and Histadrut labor federation leadership candidate Eitan Cabel used the opportunity to call for change in the Histadrut, which both he and Henin said had forsaken the interests of workers.
Before the march set out, Shay Galy of the Movement of Socialist Struggle said that he felt this year’s May Day march was unique because following last year’s protests, “we see a much wider range of society taking part,” something he said was reflective of greater public support for a social protest movement.
When asked how that could translate into political power, he suggested that all of the different social protest groups and left-wing parties come together and form a new party devoted to social issues, removing the current “racist government run by financial interests.”
Activist Alon-Lee Green said that this year’s May Day march brought together 82 different organizations looking to show that “the struggle isn’t about secular vs. haredi [ultra-Orthodox] or Jews vs. Arabs or Right vs. Left, it’s about everyone together trying to change the system.”
Green said he didn’t know how it would play out in the upcoming elections, but that “if there is an atmosphere of social struggle around the elections, it will be a great accomplishment.”
Meanwhile, MK Michael Ben- Ari (National Union) and right-wing activist Baruch Marzel led a counter-protest, saying that “these red flags are red because they were soaked in the blood of Jews and gentiles, too, who were murdered through the history of communism.”
A few scuffles broke out between the two sides but were quickly broken up, with police making one arrest.