The Shame Is Back

I am still a pig, but I don't have to shout it from the rooftops.

No one knows how this protest will end, but we already have seen some interesting and noteworthy developments.

It all comes down to the economy, of course. And, needless to say, it comes down to the system of privatization, whose ills and injustices all are on display. First and foremost, however, it is about how very public the system has been.

Akirov Towers, housing protest, tel aviv
Tal Cohen

It is apparently quite pleasant to live in Tel Aviv's luxury Akirov Towers, although these days it's a little less pleasant, after a few stink bombs were tossed at them on Friday.

And although we need not expect a mass exodus from these luxury towers, we are likely to see the address deleted from business cards, at least for the time being, until the anger dies down.

The partying seems to have stopped in the towers, and people have apparently lost their desire to meet and greet. PR representatives are not working quite as hard, and the gossip columns have dwindled.

These days, an invitation to a business opening or a family event will inevitably lead to questions: Where exactly is it being held? Is it costing NIS 7 million or less? Does it involve temporary or not-quite illegal takeover of public property? The sons and daughters of high society will hesitate before flying off to wed under bridal canopies in delightful destinations overseas; important guests will hesitate before boarding planes to golden isles.

Invitations to events recognizing overly well-known philanthropists will be turned down for the time being. Suddenly they will realize that politicians are no longer rushing to their doorsteps; they all have previous obligations, their secretaries will regretfully report.

The president, the prime minister, ministers and MKs will make do with congratulatory telegrams from Ofakim.

Who did not once long for a photo op with Tshuva and Arison, Dankner and Adelson, with Ben-Dov and Leviev, with Strauss and the Ofers - until recently, that is. It was bad luck for Miki Rosenthal that his film, "The Shakshuka System" - about the relationship between big money and government in Israel - was ahead of its time. If it were produced today, television and movie theaters would be vying for it, because a rating is rating.

Ladies and gentlemen, the shame is back. I am still a pig, but I don't have to shout it from the rooftops. The friends of the pigs, though, do miss the good old days when they could show off in public with impunity.

Let not the tycoon rise up against his brother the politician, nor vice versa. And yet, the first signs are upon us. How we invested, greased and bribed to establish a united piggish front; what a pity it will be if it collapses when it's tested.

Let's hope this chaos doesn't end in violence; that's all our people and our country need ahead of September - as if the cartels that unmercifully raise the prices on Materna and Similac, on pears and Pampers, aren't already imposing their own kind of violence on us.