Friday, July 29, 2011

The Tent Commandments

For the first time in years, Israelis are riled up over social and economic issues, rather than war and peace. It started with Facebook and one man's war against the price of cottage cheese and continued with the Tent Cities, protesting housing prices and the general cost of living in this country.

Will these protests bring down Netanyahu? I wish, but I doubt it. Can they actually bring about change? Perhaps. To achieve something significant, here are some rules that I think are essential:

  • Don't let politicians take advantage of the protests. Tent dwellers have already rebuffed attempts by the National Left movement to take over, and they should do so also with Ofer Eini, the head of the country's largest labor organization.
  • Don't break up into factions. This should be a unified protest by the middle class, not several different protests belonging to different interests groups: students, young families, doctors etc. 
  • Don't choose certain middle class interest groups over others. Include them all. This isn't asking too much, because a systemic solution is required.
  • No bullshit solutions. Don't accept anything that won't help in significant ways.
  • Don't choose a leadership. The fact that this is decentralized is part of the Tent Cities' beauty and power. Also, when there are leaders, there are factions, and as I've already said, you don't want that.


  1. Israel not quite the capitalist ‘free enterprise’ nirvana that conservative pro-Israel pundits like to make it out to be then?

  2. Definitely not a nirvana, but it certainly is a capitalist country, and these protesters are criticizing the government's laissez faire policies.