Israeli Spring Is Coming, and Its Harbingers Are Here

Our teachers and scientists are neither soldiers nor contract workers, they cry out when they see a dark cloud hiding the sun.

It's still dark and rainy, but my optimism is rising. Are the buds visible in Israel? Has the Israeli Spring arrived? We can already see the first signs of civil opposition instead of bowed heads; the era of collaboration is ending.

Teachers are refusing to continue fulfilling the role of the cog: Who am I, only a small cog in the machine, and how will I shatter it before it crushes me? The cog has finally rebelled against the people who installed it.

Teachers and lecturers demonstrating - Nir Keidar - 17022012
Nir Keidar

In an open letter to the education minister, the teachers say they will not go on guided tours to Hebron with their students and will not be cowed by threats. Fear of the minister has disappeared; you can use your real name. "The introduction of the Hebron 'heritage tours' to the schools manipulatively uses the students and teachers, who against their will become political pawns," they wrote. "As educators, our conscience prevents us from being agents of this policy."

"Our conscience" is awakening from its hibernation and is refusing to be mobilized: We will not be at the service of Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar's election campaign, and we will not agree to consider a city of ethnic cleansing - where a murderer's name is sanctified - a desirable destination and source of inspiration. Bible teachers can identify a city that was founded in injustice in the Book of Habakkuk, or a city that became a harlot in the Book of Isaiah. Hundreds have signed the letter, many still plan to sign, and who knows how many teachers have been forced to join the trips.

One cute swallow does not a spring make. So we will lift up our eyes in search of a second swallow. Here the bird is being released from her cage, the bird who comes from the cold countries and lands at the window of the culture and sports minister. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities informs Limor Livnat of its refusal to be "a passive partner or a fig leaf for an unsuitable choice" of a new Antiquities Authority chairman.

This week I saw another beautiful bird. Over 300 lecturers signed a manifesto demanding that the education minister drop his plan to recognize the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel as a university. "We consider it our duty to stop the attempt to harness academia to the service of the occupation. Previous cases in history when academia was mobilized or toed the line to serve the government's political objectives ended with the destruction of higher education," they warn.

"Political and personal considerations" is the repugnant common denominator: The education minister awards prizes in his own name, and the ceremony is aired Cuban-style on indentured television channels. Is one of those the channel that was launched a few days ago to entertain bored dogs? And will the culture minister soon award her own prize for "Zionist creativity," and will that occasion also be aired with an abundance of self-praise? And humble moderators will always be found - a Guy Zo-Aretz or a Dan Kaner. After all, they're only news readers, all they have is what they're told to say; that's how the cogs are installed. So go to the teacher or celebrity; go to the university professor, learn the ways of his resistance.

The fewer the deeds, the more the prizes. Now even the president is awarding prizes, and it's already being said that the Peres prizes are more prestigious than the Israel Prize. Israel is he, he is the state, and he will grant to others some of his glory as the waters cover the sea.

Our teachers and scientists are neither soldiers nor contract workers, they cry out when they see a dark cloud hiding the sun.

Read this article in Hebrew