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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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  • Despite promises, government falls short on housing goals

    Although the tent protests of 2011 succeeded in changing the public discourse about housing, the country's policies regarding availability, affordability, and recognition of Bedouin villages in the Negev have not changed. By Gil Gan Mor Last month, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published its annual report on the state of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The document reviews the events of the past year by focusing on the how the government's policies have affected peoples' civil, political, and economic rights. The summer of 2011 will be remembered in Israel for the massive social protests that…

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  • Where is the social protest movement in the Israeli elections?

    Did the revolution lose its sex appeal? Did the J14 leaders enable politicians to ignore them? Whatever the reason, it is clear that the main benefactor of this state of affairs is Prime Minister Netanyahu. By Ilan Manor With the elections just two weeks away, it has become apparent that the 2013 elections are no different than the ones held in Israel since the late 1980s. Once again, the debate revolves around a flailing peace process, a possible solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the security challenges facing the State of Israel. The line between the Israeli left and right…

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  • Charges against J14 leader highlight suppression of anti-occupation activism

    J14 leader Daphni Leef has been charged with rioting, more than half a year after she was violently arrested during an attempt to reignite the protest movement of the summer of 2011. Her trial will begin on January 23. By Leehee Rothschild Look at this photo of Daphni Leef. Look at her, thrown at the floor, crushed under uniformed men - uniforms which define them as the guardians of law and order and give them the authority and power to use reasonable strength, allowing them to define what's reasonable. Look at them triding on her, pulling her, dragging her, beating…

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