Last night Israel saw what was arguably the largest protest it its history with more than 300,000 attending. The rally began 3 weeks ago when students pitched their tents on Rothschild Boulevard as an outcry over soaring housing prices. 3 weeks later in what is now referred to as "Tent City", there over 400 tents in a span of 1/2 a mile. New demonstrations throughout all major cities in the entire country have also been sparked. Last nights rally evolved into a Social protest, a call for justice and the beginning of a welfare state.
Activist holding a sign reading "Mubarak, Assad, Netanyahu"
"Go (Arabic)! Egypt is here"
"They are afraid"
Being an American Israeli, my first thoughts are of the History of my own country and the struggles we faced becoming a free and democratic state. I begin to think about stories of the past on Anti-war demonstrations, the fight against segregation and discrimination; the sit ins and the Freedom Fighters. I think of the feminist movements, the March on Washington and Martin Luther Kings Speech on "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". The fact that America was built from a government "of the people, by the people and for the people". I think of freedom of speech and all other rights that Americans have while there are so many countries NOW fighting for those same rights.
Since I've arrived in Israel just over 6 months ago, all countries around this tiny little country have been fighting for theirs. Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq. And this month alone Chile, Madrid, Russia and now Israel are all fighting for Social Reform. Israel is just as much of my country as America is. So its no surprise to me that reading the stories, seeing the photographs, and now living in this country will make me a little emotional. Seeing how far America has come in just the last 50 years gives me hope that Israel will eventually be the country it deserves to be. That the people will continue to fight until they are heard and until they see change. And that hopefully one day, History Books will be opened here (just as I did growing up in america) only as a reminder of the struggle it took building a country of freedom, peace, and equality.