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Issues of the Day Three Hundred Thousand Israelis Demand the Return of the State

I was delighted to have my presence dwarfed last night as a result of the doubling of the number of protestors that marched on behalf of social democracy throughout the streets of  Israel. A week ago, the crowd that gathered adjacent to the Prime Minister's residence in central Jerusalem was estimated at 10,000 people. Last night, we stood at somewhere near three times that number.

Last evening, over three hundred thousand Israelis took to the street throughout the country to demand a new socioeconomic program. The results of  free market religion imposed on the country over the past thirty years has resulted in housing shortages, a prohibitive cost of living, an educational system in sharp decline, a health system that leaves patients in hospital corridors due to a lack of beds, and a new bourgeoisie and lesser nouveau riche classes that dominate the economy and milk the rest of us. The people have had enough.

The "revolution" as many of the assembled termed the recent events is a call for a return to Israel's social democratic roots. While I was a relative oldster in past demonstrations, last night saw many senior citizens marching alongside families with young children; a large spectrum of Israeli society was represented. Our resolve and confidence in standing up for values steeped in social justice and opposed to the delirious materialism and individualism fostered since the Likud first began running Israel in 1977 was vibrantly asserted.

Implicit to much of what is transpiring in the country on the socioeconomic front is essentially tied to the Occupation, a forty-year old phenomena that is as erosive to Israel's well-being as it is repressive to the Palestinians. The rightist government coalition does not represent the majority of Israeli citizens but continues as a machine in which right-wing demagogues, religious obscurantists, and free market zealots guard each other's interests.  The people are now declaring their opposition. We are determined to take back the state.

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved