Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Last gasp

Last Saturday night there was an even larger turnout of the social protest movement in Israel, with some 200,000 participating in Tel Aviv and another 200,000 estimated altogether in other cities in the country. The main message of this protest movement is that the economic conditions in Israel are unfair, that apartments cost too much, bringing up baby costs too much and food costs too much and the mass of poor and middle class people want the Government to change things for the better. It is likely that similar protest movements in other countries, such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and even England, would be even more justified under the poorer economic situations in those countries.

But, this may be the last gasp of the protest movement. The tent cities in the main towns are being dismantled as the student occupants go back to school. The homeless will stay on, but without the same political power, and the organizers of the movement will now have to evaluate what they have accomplished. The Trachtenberg Committee, set up by the Netanyahu Government to take testimony from all and sundry, are nearing the end of their term, they are supposed to report back in only a month after their formation. What they will make of the situation and how they will advise the Government to tackle some of the problems will be interesting to see. It is very unlikely that problems like the cost of housing, which is due to market forces, can be changed in a short period of time. Everyone would like things to be cheaper, but how to manage this is unclear.

Israel is already turning back to the usual focus on the security situation. What with the attacks in the Negev and the continuing rockets being fired in the South, the deliberate Turkish acts to exacerbate relations between us, the internal strife in Egypt and Syria, people are casting a dim eye around and seeing little to be happy about. The worst event anticipated will be the Palestinian maneuver to obtain unilateral Statehood from the UN. Now that we are in September, there is barely a few weeks to go before that transpires, and then we will see the outcome. By the time October rolls around the protest movement will be almost forgotten, a little adventure by our young and restless during the summer that won't amount to much. We will be too busy trying to understand the outcome of the more serious Arab maneuvers designed to extinguish our existence.


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