Ever Onward

We face not a cruel dictatorship, but rather a disengaged government that sold its soul to the rich.

This is Israel's finest hour ever. No natural disaster, no war, no occasion, whether happy or sad, ever turned this cultural, religious and national mosaic into a single camp with a lust for life the way the social protest movement we have been fortunate enough to witness has done. Jewish and Arab, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, male and female, young and old, all have put down stakes outdoors, in the center of the country and beyond, with one just, humanitarian demand: We want to eat honorably that which we earned honorably through the sweat of our brow.

Israel today is not a rich country because of the donations it has received. It is rich and flourishing thanks to the wisdom and diligence of its sons and daughters. There is therefore no justification for the shameful rifts that endanger its social stability.

Israel is not now in the throes of a destructive war. It is not besieged from without. Ships and planes bring and carry away a virtual deluge of essential goods and luxury items. There is no reason for price hikes save the greed of avaricious, conscienceless leviathans, save a government that permits parasites to make billions in profit while denying cheese, a roof and affordable education to the country's children. That is why the protest movement is so just and necessary.

There have been more than a few protest movements in the course of Israel's history, from the unrest that broke out in the human kennels that were the immigrant transit camps of the 1950s, through the Israeli Black Panthers of the 1960s and the vibrant protest movement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War, to the Israeli Arab uprising in the first decade of this century. But these always involved a small slice of the population, while most of society turned away in apathy.

The current social protest movement contains the one element needed for the success of any justified protest movement. All successful revolutions owe their success to an alliance between fuel and engine, between the middle class and the working class. It was true for the French Revolution, it was true in Tunisia and in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and we are witnessing just such an alliance today in Syria and in Libya.

We face not a cruel dictatorship, but rather a disengaged government that sold its soul to the rich. This government is not strong, wise or skilled; it is simply indifferent to the suffering of its people and vulnerable to pressure from the wealthy. It does not jeopardize the amazing social protest movement.

But movements require momentum, ingenuity and creativity. Movements must avoid marching in place. It is good that the tent encampments exist, good that organized rallies are being held. It is good that rallies are taking place tomorrow. It is a genuine, existential outcry. The country's future depends on whether this protest succeeds or fails.

Those who brought it to this point have a home and an address: A protest tent should be erected in front of the home of every Knesset member. Every MK should remember, when he comes home and when he leaves, who chose him and for what purpose.

Five tents should be erected outside the home of every deputy cabinet minister, and 10 outside that of every minister. We suffer from ministerial and deputy-ministerial inflation, so we are going to need a great many tents. At least we'll be reminding them of the source of their salaries.

We do not lack will; motivation burns in the hearts of the young Israelis who firmly demand to change the face of society and to guarantee their future, which is the future of Israeli society. Commitment to the protest burns in the bones of those who live in the neglected north, the spurned south and the spirited center of the country.

Luck has smiled on us, and we do not have to spill our blood, as our neighbors did and continue to do. But we must keep moving, ever moving, and not allow our callous antagonist the chance to rest.