The social protest movement is holding its "million-man" demonstration in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina tomorrow evening. After eight weeks of continuous protest that incorporated many different segments of the population, all eyes are now focused on the square in north Tel Aviv: Will it be inundated by masses calling for social justice, chalking up yet another remarkable achievement for the largest popular movement in the country's history? If hundreds of thousands of citizens play their civic role and take to the streets Saturday, the government, the politicians and big business will be incapable of ignoring their demands.
The protest movement already has an impressive resume. Israel's public discourse has changed. A civil society has been created that is no longer willing to be passive, to accept whatever is thrown at it as if it were a divine decree. That is why it is so important to come to this demonstration, which could become a milestone on the road to a longed-for change in society.
Two fundamental issues are on the agenda: a new political language in which all citizens, and not just politicians, have an important say in what happens in this country; and a new, fairer distribution of wealth. One need not agree with each of the dozens of the demands voiced by the protest movement in order to go out and demonstrate; it is enough to support its underlying principles, which have garnered widespread public support. Now is the time to translate that support into a grand display of power.
Participating in tomorrow's demonstration means caring and involvement; not participating means complacency and willful blindness to the ills of Israel's society and economy. There is little dispute over the need for change, and that near-unanimous recognition must be given forceful expression Saturday.
Saturday's event in Kikar Hamedina will determine the character of our society: Will it remain comatose, submissively accepting the injustice that has pervaded it, or will it rise up in tenacious struggle? Will Israelis consent to go on living in a society where they pay too much and receive too little, and where most of the wealth is concentrated in too few hands, or are they set on change?
No one will do anything to effect change unless Israeli citizens take their fate into their own hands and go out to protest. That is why we are urging from this platform: Go out and demonstrate!
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