Social protest - Michal Fattal - September 2011
The people took to the streets demanding social justice. Photo by Michal Fattal
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The traditional blessings and good wishes that our political and military leadership will presumably offer us, as they do every year before Rosh Hashanah, will have a somewhat hollow ring this year. For if in the past the hope of resuming the diplomatic process still flickered, and there was something on which to base wishes for peace and prosperity, this year, the regional and global clouds are gathering, and Israel's leadership has nothing to propose other than "the justice of our path" and "our truth."

This "truth," at least according to Benjamin Netanyahu, consists mainly of reconciling ourselves to the Jewish fate: a fate of anti-Semitism, persecution, besiegement and fear, without the hope, practical wisdom and diplomatic creativity that accompanied Israel from its birth.

Curled up in our justice and our justifications, isolated as we never were before, shedding one ally after another, devoid of any hope and vision aside from ensuring the continued growth of West Bank settlements, the "state of the Jews" under the leadership of Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman is striding toward a new year that will also not be simple from an objective standpoint: The global economic crisis is not letting up, the Iranian nuclear threat continues to hover over us, the "Arab Spring of Nations" is darkening into a radical Islamist storm, and a hostile Palestinian state is being born, without peace, to the sound of the world's applause.

America's despair of our regional conflict may be seen as good news by devotees of the local status quo, but even they are liable to discover what everyone else already knows: Time is not on Israel's side, and especially not when we allow it to operate on its own.

If there is any hope on the cusp of the new year, it can be found in the human energy that burst forth this year in Israel's protest movement, which has already left its mark on both politics and the economy. What began as a protest against the prices of staple products and housing has expanded into a sweeping, widespread uprising against the narrowing of the younger generation's horizons and future.

We must hope that this revolt will not remain confined to the economic sphere. If only the spirit of longing for hope and normalcy that awoke this year could also find an echo among our neighbors. If only it could offer an alternative to the existential-diplomatic stagnation that Israel's leadership has offered us, year after year.