The violent riots in Britain are entirely different from the Israeli summer protest. In Israel the middle class, which bears the main economic and civic burden, is rebelling against the cost of living. In England the most neglected margins of society are rebelling.
The protest leaders in Israel are the sons and daughters of the backbone of society - educated young people in a country where social mobility is greater than is common in the conservative West. In Britain the fire was ignited by impoverished immigrants and minorities and spread to the lower class, which suffers from severe unemployment and profound economic and cultural poverty that is handed down from one generation to the next in Britain's class-based society. Intercultural and interracial tensions are also playing a significant role in the riots, whose opening volley was apparently the shot that killed the young black man Mark Duggan in Tottenham.
In Israel the protest is moderate, and it's sweeping along a broad and varied public that identifies with it, its leaders and its messages. Even the prime minister admitted this week that the protest is justified, or at least it's being met with understanding. In Britain the uprising has turned into a killing field. From the beginning, rioting, arson, vandalism, looting and violent clashes have claimed a high price - three dead in Birmingham, dozens injured, both civilians and policemen, and more than 1,000 arrested.
Outside observers are limited in their ability to assess events in other countries, but many British commentators are pointing a finger at David Cameron's government, which, according to Nina Power in the Guardian, implemented a series of "brutal cuts" in government spending that weakened the welfare services and the police. She claims that Britain is "a country in which the richest 10 percent are now 100 times better off than the poorest."
Despite the differences between the two countries, the Israeli government should listen to the expanding public protest; the factors that created huge gaps in Israel should be restrained. The government must work rationally to prevent the outbreak of another protest here, fueled by frustration and anger at both wealthy businessmen and the government - something that is liable to risk all society.
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