Over 150,000 social justice protesters took to the streets of 11 cities across Israel. They danced to musical performances by some of Israel’s most popular artists, and chanted slogans demanding Prime Minister Netanyahu “go home”.
“Home,” according to the protestors, is not in the official residence of the Prime Minister is Beit Aghion.
Demanding that Bibi step down from office, the protestors took on a variety of anti-Netanyahu complaints. These protests, which some are calling part of an “Israeli Spring”, began initially in response to the country’s housing crisis. But since as they began gaining momentum, they have spread to a host of social and economic complaints, including overlap with the growing Israeli peace movement.
In Tel Aviv alone, estimates for the crowd ranged from between 50,000 and 75,000. The social justice and anti-Netanyahu slogans could be heard for miles. Taking the message right to his door step, 15,000 protesters descended upon Netanyahu’s residence, where they shouted, “A whole generation wants a future.”
In Haifa, over 10,000 protesters flooded the streets, while even in the small city of Kiryat Shmonah, a full 1,000 people marched in record numbers.
Netanyahu’s political opposition leader Tzippi Livni (Kadima) noted the protests, calling upon Netanyahu to cancel the Knesset’s summer recess and address the crisis sweeping the country.
Further critics demanded revocation of Israel’s recently-passed anti-democratic laws. Just as many others said that Israel needs a change in how it approaches the Jewish-Palestinian conflict(s) and relations in general.
To understand just how big these protests are, nearly 2% of the entire Israeli population took to the streets. That may not sound like much, but this is much higher than the turn out for protests, percentage-wise, in nearly any country. When crowds of discontent citizens swell to such levels, historically that is a sign that social revolution is at hand. Had this same percentage taken to the street in the United States, by comparison, we would be looking at protests equal to approximately 5.5 million.
(Article by Ari Simeon and M.B. David)