Tents in Tel Aviv
Photo: Ben Kelmer
Tahrir Square: The inspiration?
Photo: AFP

Arab writers: Protests inspired by Tahrir

'What annoys Israelis most is idea that they were inspired by Arab model for revolution,' writes Palestinian columnist after Tel Aviv activist confirms to al-Jazeera: If Egyptian people can do it, so can we

Arab newspapers buzzing with news of the popular protests in Israel are drawing comparisons between the massive demonstrations over housing and medicine and those that occurred in neighboring countries, which in some cases toppled regimes.


In a column published Wednesday by Hishar Munawar in the London-based Elaf website, the columnist asks, "Have the Arab winds of change reached Israel?"



Munawar says the protests in Israel are proof that the Arab uprising was not an "American-Zionist project", as many have claimed.


"A whole sector of scholars and elitists doubted the popular protests in the Arab states. They doubted the timing and the true reasons for the masses taking to the streets," Munawar writes.


"Conspiracy theories took over the thoughts of these scholars to such an extent that they began to be convinced of the Arab people's incapability of creating their own revolution, without outside help. These scholars hesitated to support the popular movements and publicly stated that some of the protesters were traitors working for the enemies – Israel and the US."


But the protests in Israel proved these unbelievers wrong, Munawar writes, citing as proof slogans recited by Israeli, such as "Netanyahu resign" and "The people want social justice".


"The government did not use security forces or any unjustified force afterwards in order to suppress these protests," he says, adding that "activists in Tel Aviv admitted they were influenced by the Egyptian model for change".


'Why do they deny similarities?'

In fact, a number of protesters interviewed in Tel Aviv have made the comparison between their demonstration and those that took place in Tahrir Square. "Our battle here was influenced by the protests in Tahrir," one protester told Al-Jazeera.


"If the Egyptian people can do it, so can we. We also have corruption and a warped sense of priorities. Funds should not go to the army and settlements but to us."


Munawar was not the only one to see Arab influence in the Israeli protests. Writing for the Palestinian paper al-Ayyam, columnist Hassan Khader agrees with this view.


"Columnists in Israel were quick to deny the similarities between the recent protests and what happened in Tahrir Square in Egypt, but why do they deny the incredible similarities?" he asks.


In response, Khader writes that "the Israelis don’t want to admit that what has been happening in the Arab world recently affects them in many ways, and that this is an attempt at imitating the Egyptian model, even if the demands are different and there is no call to topple the regime".


"What annoys the Israelis most of all is the idea that they were inspired by the Arab model for revolution."


Khader, who appears proud of this influence, hopes that the protests do end up toppling the government.



פרסום ראשון: 07.27.11, 15:10
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