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PHOTOS: Low turnout for J14 weekend demonstrations

Demonstrations across the country manage to bring together only 20,000 people. Protest in Jaffa is fiery and emotional

Just one week before the “million man march” that the J14 movement plans on holding next Saturday, the nation-wide protests last night showed a sharp drop in numbers – and in spirit.

Just over 20,000 people attended the protests across the country. 10,000 people attended the Tel Aviv rally, where Noam Shalit, the father of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, spoke. Shalit turns 25 on Monday.

Noam Shalit said: “A leader who is prepared to deal with the abandonment for many years of an IDF soldier and is not prepared to deal with the calculated risks of bringing him home, is not worthy to lead this country.”

Tel Aviv rally, August 27 (photo: Oren Ziv / avtivestills.org)

Sign in Tel Aviv rally that says "Come on Sarah, we're going" - reference to Sarah Netanyahu, who has sometimes been called "Miss Piggy" (photo: Yossi Gurvitz)

Sign in Tel Aviv rally that says "revolution" (photo: Oren Ziv / activestills.org)

Protesters at Tel Aviv rally (photo: Oren Ziv / activestills.org)

Sign in Tel Aviv rally that says "thought police", with images of Netanyahu and Lieberman (photo: Oren Ziv / activestills.org)

In Jaffa, only a few hundred attended the march through its Arab section. This demo was high in spirit. As opposed to the other demos and tent camps, the Arab MKs are welcomed. This march was lead by Balad Mks Muhamad Barake, Hanin Zuabi and Jamal Zahalkeh. Before the rally began, organizers went and spoke to Hadash activists and asked them not to raise their red flags.

Most of the chants were in Arabic, and yours truly even held a sign in Arabic even though I had no clue what it meant until someone told me. My sign, as most of the placards were, had to do with the housing issue. In fact, it seems that there is great frustration in the Jaffa camp that the housing issue has been taken over by the “social justice” term, which in their eyes is wide encompassing. The Jaffa activists reminded us all during the demo of the 700 eviction proceedings as the most pressing problem that needs to be solved.

Here is a young activists who explains their strategy:

This is how the demo looked as it winded down the narrow streets of Jaffa. Many of the chants called for Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation:

The following activist addressed the housing issue at length [Heb]:

One of the more emotional moments of the demo was when an activist from the Hatikva neighborhood in South Tel Aviv came to speak. The feeling of togetherness, such a rare sight between these kind of people, brought a lump to my throat. This is the beauty of J14, bringing the “disconnected” together to fight neo-liberal capitalism. At the end of her speech, the protesters shout in Hebrew “Jaffa and Hatikva together!” [Heb]:

And here is Wafa abu Shnis, one of the central figures in the Jaffa tent camp:

Next came a wonderful surprise for me. One of my favorite Israeli artists, world renowned oud player Yair Dalal, played with another oud musician from Jaffa a song in Arabic and Hebrew:

The local Jaffa musician closed the demo and got the crowd to join him:

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    1. Thank you for showing me (and others) all of this. It must be bittersweet, the fear that it might end so soon. Hate is a very effective tool/force. I wonder if the Eilat murderers wanted this to happen. I know of only one way to beat this kind of hatred–to transcend all sides. But I am not exposed to the risks, anger, and fear.
      Your country is in one hell of a place, internally and externally. I cannot think of another country which has so much on its shoulders, if it is to change.

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    2. Sol Salbe

      The movement’s leadership group has been tactically wise and/or lucky till now eg with the “periphery demonstrations” weekend. But I think it is unwise to call a demonstration while at the same time saying that the big one is on the following weekend. Nothing similar has ever worked in 43 years of political activism/observation. Let’s not make any assumption about the movement and just build the next demo -the big one.

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