Israel's Social Protest Join Forces With IDF Draft Movement

Organizers, who expect thousands to attend the event outside the Tel Aviv Museum, say rally will determine the protest's future.

The leaders of the social protest and the Israeli Forum for Equal Service will join forces tomorrow night in a rally for universal military service and against the government's tough economic measures.

The organizers, who expect thousands to attend the event outside the Tel Aviv Museum at 8:30 P.M., say the rally will determine the protest's future.

Musicians such as Idan Raichel will appear.

"This isn't only a young people's campaign," said students union chairman and social activist Itzik Shmuli at a news conference yesterday. "It's the campaign of everyone who bears the economic, social and defense burden - everyone who cares how this country will look in a few years."

According to Shmuli, "A series of decisions in recent weeks struck at the middle class and lower-income earners. The new economic decrees threaten to crush the middle class and grind down the weaker ones .... They're the outcome of a government policy that hits people who give and serve. This has to stop."

Social protest leader Stav Shaffir also took part in the conference.

"It's time to go to an all-out war," she said. "The games are over."

Boaz Nul, head of a movement fighting draft evasion, said the activists organized the rally because "things have come to a head. This week proved that the government is cut off. Two great historic opportunities to make a real change were squandered by a prime minister who gives free lunches to his allies - lunches that we pay for."

Social activist Karin Elharar, head of Bar-Ilan University's legal clinics, said "Israel is led by people who have no national responsibility, who prefer certain groups to others. All the burden is on the middle class and poor people. It's time to say we need a serious change in priorities."

Eran Weintraub, director of the humanitarian organization Latet, said the latest decrees, especially the increase in value added tax, would harm the needy especially.

2011 summer's social protest.