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Israeli Social Justice Movement

  • How the social protests in Israel broke down national borders

    While trying to plan a new life abroad following the failure of the 2011 social protests, Regev Contes uncovers a family secret that radically alters his Israeli Jewish identity. By Mati Shemoelof Regev Contes’ new documentary film, "Goodbye Adolf," which recently aired on Israel’s Channel 1, is full of courage and honesty. (Warning: this article includes spoilers.) [tmwinpost] Contes, one of the leaders of the 2011 social protests, brings to the screen what we social activists felt after the failure of the protest: how it divided us, how we gave up and surrendered, how we scattered and dispersed to all corners…

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  • A failed revolution: Why Israel's next social protest will be a violent one

    The next social protest will be violent because the demand will no longer be for change but for a revolution - and revolutions are violent by nature. Two years after Israel's social protests, poverty is only increasing, a small number of people control the economy and politicians are still ignoring the grievances of those who elected them. By Ilan Manor The next social protect in Israel will be a violent one, and not simply because the last one failed. The next protest will be violent because of the social stagnation that currently characterizes Israeli society, a stagnation that prevents social…

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  • Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: 'Wined and dined' in the lion's den

    It was only two years ago that I was on the streets protesting corporate capitalism, and here I am being hosted by one of the most powerful organizations in the world (photos: Ami Kaufman) “Life is full of twists and turns” has to be one of the more cliché things one can say, but that’s pretty much the way I felt as my shoes were sinking in the thick carpets lining the corridors of Cargill’s headquarters, situated in a lush French-style chateau outside the Twin Cities. It was only two years ago when I was an active participant in the #J14…

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  • Marking two years since J14, thousands demonstrate, block Tel Aviv roads

    About 4,000 demonstrators gather in central Tel Aviv o commemorate two years since the first tent was erected on Rothschild Boulevard. on July 14, 2011, launching the largest struggle for social justice in Israeli history – aka, the Israeli Summer or J14. The thousands of demonstrators for social justice marched from Rothschild Boulevard and Habima Square to the corner of Kaplan and Ibn Gvirol, where they were joined by about 200 activists who marched from the poorer Hatikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv. The second group focused their protest on the demand for social housing. In the combined rally, speakers…

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  • PHOTO: Bank of Israel governor Fischer is caught in social protest

    This is one of the best images the Israeli social protest has produced: the Governor of the Bank of Israel and former chief economist at the World Bank Stanley Fischer walking out of a cultural event in central Tel Aviv, surrounded by protesters who happened to be gathering at a nearby square when they spotted him. The protesters shouted, “government and capital equal organized crime,” at Fischer and his wife (video here). While government officials praise Fisher for his term at the Bank of Israel, many protesters blame him for pursuing a monetary policy that supports big business instad of…

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  • Tens of thousands protest plan to draft ultra-Orthodox into Israeli army

    As top rabbis declare that attempts to draft ultra-Orthodox men into the army constitute a 'religious war,' masses turned out for an anti-draft rally in Jerusalem. Violent confrontations broke out between a few demonstrators and police. Thirteen were injured and 10 arrested. Around 30,000 ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) demonstrators, many more than anticipated, showed up for a mass rally against the planned induction of Yeshiva students outside the Israeli army's recruiting offices in Jerusalem Thursday night. The government plans to revoke a special exemption given to these ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, part of plan to "equalize of the national burden" orchestrated by Yair…

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  • Masses demonstrate against austerity measures in Israel

    Over 12,000 Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv and other cities to protest against proposed tax hikes and spending cuts in the state's new budget. But will the latest iteration of Israel's social justice protest movement continue? The anger in the streets Saturday may be an indication that the movement will continue and possibly grow. Back on the streets. It was probably the largest demonstration for social justice and against austerity in the past year, if not since the Israeli 'Summer of 2011.' More than 12,000 protestors blocked the streets of central Tel Aviv Saturday night to protest against…

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  • Can Israel's social justice protest movement make a comeback?

    Will Israeli masses return to the streets for social justice? After nearly a month of weekly protests outside the house of Yair Lapid, the new finance minister - numbering about 400 people each and organized by post-#J14 groups for public housing - a much bigger demonstration is planned for Saturday night with more than 10,000 people declaring they will attend on the Facebook event page. The protests are erupting as Lapid promotes a new budget, which looks much like the one planned by the previous government. It was ultimately public pressure that led the government to scrap the budget and call…

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  • Activists hold first protest against Israeli Finance Minister Lapid

    Roughly 200 demonstrators gathered last night (Saturday) in front of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid's north Tel Aviv home in protest of planned cuts to social services and benefits. The protesters demanded that the finance minister cover budget deficits by taxing the highest-earning Israelis, rather than cutting benefits to the poor and unemployed, as Lapid hinted he would do.  The protest was organized by public housing activists and the "Ma'abarah"' and "Not Nice" groups. Lapid came under fire last week after he posted a Facebook status promising to help "the average Israeli,"' but gave as an example an imaginary woman from Hadera whose household earnings are almost…

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  • Views on the Arab revolutions from within Israeli society

    In February 2011, when it was clear Hosni Mubarak's 30-year authoritarian rule over Egypt would not survive the popular uprising that had begun on January 25, the Israeli media’s reporting was characterized primarily by a combination of confusion and unease about the big issue that concerns the country above all others – security. On the evening television magazine shows, panels of white-haired male analysts in their 60s reminisced in tones of near-nostalgia about their army service in the 1967 and 1973 wars with Egypt. They mentioned the porousness of the border in the south and implied that without Mubarak to…

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  • Ex-pats launch Israeli Opposition Network, call for regime change in Israel

    UPDATE: Scroll to bottom for corrections. New York -- For Yael Berda, the unexpectedly strong showing of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party in Israel's recent national elections is no reason for centrists or liberals to celebrate. Lapid's party labels itself centrist, she says, but its domestic and security policies are so similar to the right wing parties' that it will only serve to bolster their agenda. The neophyte politician is from Israel's wealthy Ashkenazi elite, which identifies with Europe and the United States. "In that cultural sense," she said, "You can call Lapid a…

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