Israel’s social protests are due to return to the streets tomorrow with a march, the first in just under two months. “On October 29, we young people need to take to the streets and demand a new national budget, and the social justice we deserve,” protestor May Turgeman said at a press conference in which details of the renewal of the struggle were released.
The protests, which began on July 14, clearly had a large impact on the national agenda, forcing the government to grapple with the cost of living and convene the Trajtenberg Committee. This panel has recommended reductions in tariffs on food, extra benefits for working mothers, a home-building plan and expanded childcare, and has had its recommendations endorsed by the cabinet.
The protestors say that Trajtenberg is not offering enough — but the question is, are they about to embolden themselves or shoot themselves in the foot? They left on a high on September 3 with their so-called March of the Million, which attracted 400,000 people, and while a large turnout tomorrow will show that their cause is still alive, a small attendance will send politicians a message that they can chill out on their social efforts because the nation’s hour of activism has passed.
The Israel that the protestors are trying to mobilize tomorrow is a very different one than two months ago. It is less discontented — currently in euphoria over Gilad Shalit’s return. This is not only an emotional high, but a reason for people to be pleased with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a target of the protestors’ anger. Bet you never thought you’d see the day: Israel’s problem, over-contentment!