Social protest must go on
Op-ed: Tent protest just starting, enables Israelis to find Zionism they almost lost
Before anyone else, those who must be grateful to the 2011 revolution are Israel's police officers. They were the first ones to bear the fruit. A week ago, following the upheaval, the finance minister and internal security minister decided to raise the salaries of police and prison service officers in their first six year on the job from some NIS 5,000 to NIS 7,150 per month.
Say what you will about our police, there is no doubt that their occupation is at times dangerous and often smeared. A salary of NIS 5,000 for this job is a disgrace. The addition of NIS 2,000 per month won't turn them into millionaires (the protest chant "the cops are with us, they have no apartments" will remain intact) – yet it will afford them minimal subsistence and a little more peace of mind.
Indeed, the Israel Police and Israel Prison Service salute protest organizers Daphni Leef and Stav Shafir.
Hence, the police would feel quite bad about themselves should they, heaven forbid, be ordered to clear the tents. Such move would look like blatant ingratitude, create a rift between the police and public, and be perceived as though someone bought off the cops' motivation.
Those who order such eviction would apparently be digging a political and professional grave for themselves as well. And rightfully so: Removing the tents would cause grave damage to Israel's society, because the protest has only started. It will not end until we see comprehensive change in the system and the drafting of welfare state principles – without the help of politicians.
Parallel to the current protest, we are seeing tent cities continuing to grow nationwide. All of the are a harbinger of great future changes for the benefit of all social strata – with the possible exception of the tycoons and some Knesset members who want us to forget about everything.
Those who dropped by the tents just once to take a look fell in love. Those who haven't done so yet are hereby warmly invited to visit. An amazing process of in-depth social dialogue is taking place there, with Israelis from all walks of life meeting each other, like relatives who have never met.
Words like "solidarity" and "mutual guarantee" are given substance. Young leadership is growing in the periphery. The plethora of spontaneous activities (and let's disregard the few clowns) serve both as a means for channeling the social fury and as a proper solution for families and children. Yet most of all, this is the finest Israel has to offer: Original thinking, cooperation, cheeky initiative, a workshop of ideas, and all of this for the sake one objective: To improve our lives.
In other words, here is the Zionism we almost lost. We found it in the tent. Are you mad enough to clear it?