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Yair Lapid Photo: Yoni Hamenachem
Yair Lapid Photo: Yoni Hamenachem
 
 

Israel’s new people

Op-ed: Israelis who came out for largest protest in nation’s history have the real power

Yair Lapid
Published: 09.04.11, 13:40 / Israel Opinion

The new people came out yesterday to say: “No more.”

 

Some eight weeks ago, I wrote here: “This is the slaves’ most prominent trait – they’re invisible. Our regime, while it trades secret handshakes under the table with representatives of the tycoons and of various interest groups, doesn’t remember that the slaves exist most of the time.”

 

Eight weeks later, this is over. The new people who came out to State Square Saturday night are no longer invisible. They came to say that they are unhappy, that it cannot go on like this, and that all the attempts to make them disappear again won’t work.

Changes
Masses show up for biggest protest in Israel's history / Ynet reporters
Tent protest reaches climax point: Some 300,000 gather in Tel Aviv, 40,000 in Jerusalem and 30,000 in Haifa.' Rallies take place in many other cities across Israel. 'Mr. prime minister, we are the new Israelis,' proclaims student leader
Full story

 

The argument over whether this protest is political or not is needless; it is being conducted by the people of yesterday simply because they don’t know how to speak any other language. After all, it’s clear that the protest is political.

 

If our taxes are not going to the right place, it’s political. If our productive sector receives the fewest rights, it’s political. If the current order of priorities means that those who receive more are not the ones who deserve it, but rather, those who know how to use force, it’s political. If the majority doesn’t rule, it’s political.

 

This is destructive and dangerous politics, and it’s also indecent; Saturday night was the first step in the long journey aimed at putting an end to it.

 

The new people are not trying to destroy the regime. Rather, the opposite is true: They are trying, with all their might, to force the government to do its job. “Ok,” the people are telling our leadership, “if you only understand force, then we’ll use force.”

 

Because those who form an inflated, wasteful government comprising 39 ministers and deputy ministers only understand force.

 

Because those who let the tycoons play with the public’s money only understand force. Those who capitulate to massive coalition pressure groups only understand force.

 

Those who say “I don’t have anything” to one sector, while releasing funds almost freely to another sector only understand force.

 

Those who are tough guys at the expense of medical interns, police officers, teachers and social workers but give in to the large unions or various sectors only understand force.

 

However, those who only understand force are in trouble now, because last night the new people showed them – without using force even for a moment – where the real power lies. They kept on coming, and with every additional person, with every improvised sign, with every stammered speech, this power grew larger.

 

As the hours passed, the power kept on growing, until it became what it was to begin with, what it was from the first day, what it was from the moment the slaves decided to cut off their chains – it became the greatest force ever seen around here.

 

In politics there is only one crime that is unforgivable – showing weakness. Last night, the new people came out to squares all across the nation and told their government: “We are here, we are unhappy, and we got the power. If you don’t do anything about it, we intend to use it.”

 

 

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