The social protest movement is back. Sparked by the arrest of movement leader Dafni Leef last week in Tel Aviv, 10,000 marchers took to the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv last Saturday, shouting, “The only solution to privatization is revolution.”
Calling it the “Israeli New Deal”, movement leaders have also drafted a social covenant for Israel that includes important pledges for housing, social welfare and the environmental stewardship. The group hopes the covenant will clarify the group’s agenda and will draw support from Israeli student, business, and government leaders.
Uri Matoki, a spokesperson for the group said, “The protest included a lot of emotion and anger, but we thought we had to put something clear on the table, a document of demands that would include a proposal for fundamentally changing the system in Israel.”
The current proposal includes raising taxes on the highest income workers, better access to social benefits for all Israelis, a call for sustainable economic growth and an end to the privatization of government services and the outsourcing of workers in Israel.
The move from nebulous protests to drafting a clear focused agenda for change may mark a new stage in the group’s development, one that activist Tomer Mintz believes the movement is ready to embrace.
"The tents made a huge impact, above and beyond expectations, but they've maxed out,” he said in September when tents were dismantled. “It's time to continue the struggle by other means.”
Bar-Ilan Professor Noah Efron agrees. He believes the movement must now engage in political dialogue and long term political strategizing.
“If you stop viewing this as we’re going to topple the government and put in something different and you start to look at it in terms of two years from now and four years from now," he said, "I think there’s really good reason to think that we’re already seeing that change is on its way.”