Social protesters march through central TA

Six months after launching protest movement that swept Israel, demonstrators mark anniversary with march, party.

smaller social justice march (photo credit: Moshe Raphaeli)
smaller social justice march
(photo credit: Moshe Raphaeli)
Six months after the beginning of the “social justice” movement that swept across the country, around 200 demonstrators marched through central Tel Aviv Saturday night to mark the half year anniversary and vow that the movement was only beginning.
In a tweet written hours ahead of the march, Daphni Leef, the 26-year-old Tel Avivian who started the protest July 14 by pitching a tent on Rothschild Boulevard’s pedestrian walkway, wrote, “six months have passed and I want to thank you for the togetherness, for our struggle, for the fact that we aren’t giving up, that the same issues and questions for the society remain.”
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When asked ahead of the march if it symbolized a new phase in the protest, which has for the most part dropped out of the Israeli media, Leef said, “it’s to show that we’re all in this together,” and she advised to “check back tomorrow” to see the relevance of the march and subsequent street party.
Demonstrators said that they did not plan to pitch tents and sleep outdoors, partly because that phase of the protest already took place over the summer.
Earlier this week, Leef posted on her Facebook page a note reading that her rent had been raised by her new landlord and that she was feeling déjà vu, joking, “what to do, maybe get a tent?” The “J14” movement was launched when Leef pitched her tent after she said her landlord raised her rent.
The demonstrators made their way down Rothschild to Lewinsky Park in south Tel Aviv, where a party was held.
Along the way, they yelled a series of chants, including, “Rothschild, Lewinsky, the same revolution” and “the people demand justice,” the slogan of the movement.
Shir Nosatzki, one of the most central figures of the protest movement on Rothschild, said ahead of the march that while the protests have achieved little in terms of governmental changes, they have opened a new dialogue among Israelis.
“In terms of the closed-mindedness of the government, not only have we not made any progress, we’ve moved backwards. We see more anti-democratic legislation, and for instance, the electricity prices have gone up 25 percent since the start of the protests.”
Nosatzki added that while the lack of progress in dialogue with the government has created a “gloomy” picture, the new public dialogue is inspiring.
“The people have woken up more, they are taking more responsibility over their lives. They’re talking about things like the prices of electricity and not what happened last night on [television program] Big Brother.”