Even Histadrut labor union Chief Ofer Eini wasn’t able to make me like the protest. The dozens of buses that brought thousands of helpless workers to protest on a giant lawn located at the most expensive site in Israel most certainly didn’t reflect authenticity. The employees of the Ashdod Port or Haifa Port or Israel Electric Company, where Eini draws his power from, had no business protesting outside the Tel Aviv government compound. As we knew, these people are not facing any distress; neither they, nor their relatives and distant family members who all found a job at the same workplace.
However, this protest is unfriendly not only because of Ofer Eini. It is unfriendly because of the manner in which it emerged and because of the ultimate objective hiding being it. Unfriendly elements, in my view at least, feed it with slogans and lies from the moment of inception, wickedly and maliciously, motivated by a clear intent to topple a government elected at the ballots. Organizations hiding behind seemingly innocent names whose funding sources were never fully (or at all) publicized are funding this protest.
The protest tents and signs and stages and lighting and speakers and other equipment cost a great deal of money. Nothing had been donated by the marchers, at least some of whom could have done so instead of indulging themselves with lavish breakfasts at the many upscale restaurants on Rothschild Boulevard and nearby streets. I have no qualms, of course, with “donations” or with young people embarking on expensive trips following their military service and later returning and demanding what their parents never even dared dream of, yet the public should know these little details too.
Masses not told the truth
Many good people indeed rushed to follow the organizers, most of whom arrived directly from the protests at the security fence that supposedly bothers the Arabs living nearby or from IDF roadblocks where these organizers harassed young soldiers merely seeking to prevent suicide bombers from entering our coffee shops or buses and killing dozens. However, the masses who followed the organizers were not told the truth, or alternately, were fed with false reports, spiced with performing artists, about the protest’s authenticity. Shlomo Artzi or Yehudit Ravitz, who make tens of thousands of shekels per show, certainly cannot represent real protest by struggling citizens.
It is true that there are quite a few genuine cases of distress within Israeli society, such as that of IDF reservists, some of whom serve for many days at their various units. However, there are many other protests I cannot identify with. For example, the distress of single mothers. Hasn’t the time come to lift the veneer of lies around this subject? After all, these mothers are not widows or divorcees, but rather, young women who voluntarily sought the single-mother status after heading to the sperm bank. So why should the whole of society support them? What did a single mothers’ representative have to do with the unfriendly protest Saturday night?
And by the way, Ofer Eini could also help resolve the housing distress, by giving up the useless, giant lawn of the Histadrut building and turning it into a compound housing thousands of low-cost apartments. However, it’s much easier to resort to impassioned zeal, spread lies, blame others, and at the same time build luxury towers nearby.
That’s the essence of these artificial protests. Demagoguery and more demagoguery coupled with the dissemination of baseless hatred against certain strata or sectors, as neo-anarchist movements tend to do. Their only purpose is to undermine the existing order and create a “new world” – one that is anarchic, radical and seemingly liberal, just like in Stalinist Russia.
Dr. Haim Misgav is a law lecturer at the Netanya Academic College
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