“The Nation Demands Social Justice” – For All

Event Poster for Beer-Sheva Rally that Reads, “The Negev Demands Social Justice”

I’m forgoing my perfectionist leanings because I want to tell you about the Israel protests tonight. I attended the Beer-Sheva rally, estimated at 35,000, and followed closely on Twitter and Facebook the progress of the protest in Haifa as well. (I consider Haifa and Beer-Sheva to be my Israeli hometowns.)

In Beer-Sheva, it was a warm, dry night. The atmosphere was that of a street festival, and babies and small children abounded, despite the late hour.

But something interesting was happening. Taking the focus off Tel Aviv changed the nature of the protests. In Haifa and Beer-Sheva, we saw a far greater inclusiveness in the protests than we had seen before, with gay pride flags flying high, signs for handicapped rights, and most of all, significant mike time given to Arab Israeli issues.

In Beer-Sheva, Hanan Alsana (חנאן אלסנע), a Bedouin woman, was one of the headline speakers and a highlight of the night to many.

Live Coverage from the Ground

I know many people are uncomfortable with Twitter, and that’s fine, so I’m bringing it to you. Here’s a live account of what people were saying as the protests happened.

— Keep reading for photos, videos, funny stories, and recommendations of what to read next. Most importantly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts — 
And here are some photographs to share with you the spirit of the evening. Can you feel it? 

Want to play “I Spy”? Can you find the following: an Israeli flag, a protest symbol, a Gilad Shalit banner, a gay pride flag, an image of Bibi’s face (“Bibi” is the nickname of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu). What else do you notice?

The sign in red lettering in the middle says, “Social justice for Palestinians too.” The rallying cry of the protests has been, “The Nation Demands Social Justice,” so we can read this sign as an addendum to be read in full: “The Nation Demands Social Justice- For Palestinians Too.”
Update: we’ve found the sign holder. It’s Amitai Sandy, whom you can find more about here.
Image credited to Elizabeth Tsurkov.
And for your entertainment, here’s a video of a marriage proposal made at the Beer-Sheva rally. Said the proposer, “I don’t have a house, but I have love.” (I didn’t find it terribly romantic given the context, but at least they’ll have a good record of it.) Video is in Hebrew, but you’ll get the gist.
On that note, I can’t let you go without checking out the latest episode of “Pini in London” in which Pini sets up a tent village of one. Pini, a silly character, is the subject of short internet-based stories about the life of an Israeli who is visiting the UK. The most recent episode is in tune with Israel’s current events- or not. See for yourself.
Recommended Reads
For some of these you’ll need to invest in an internet translator- they’re free. Find one you like: it’s worth it for following events in the Middle East, especially at this historic juncture. (Start off with Google Translate, or Tradukka for smaller texts, and go from there.)
  • Want to read the original Facebook event invitation for Beer-Sheva? Start here.
  • “Over 70,000 Protest in Israel’s Periphery”YNet is my favorite source for keeping updated on the protests. Its coverage has outranked other mainstream publications. I especially like the photos in this article. Click through for that alone. (Note that the original number of 35,000 told to us as the number of Beer-Sheva participants has been readjusted to 12-15,000.)
  • “100,000 Protest Across Israel as J14 Leaves Tel Aviv” by Dimi Reider at +972 Magazine (see below). And wow! Afula turned out 15,000 protesters in a city of 40,000. That’s amazing!!
  • But don’t forget the rest of the country. The protests in Jaffa (Yafo) were a force unto themselves. Even if you haven’t found that translator you like yet, do click through for the photos from one of Israel’s most mixed cities
  • “The Anatomy of Israel’s Protest Movement” via the Socialist Worker. Although the source has its obvious biases, a generally good overview of the protest’s development as a whole for those yet unfamiliar. Additionally note that having been published on August 12th (yesterday), it’s very current
  • “Protest Culture Thrives in Steamy Israeli Summer” via Reuters. A shorter piece than the one above, it is a quicker read and offers a very mainstream view given its source
  • “MENA: Can a hashtag spread hate?” As a former, and I hope, future writer at Global Voices Online, this is one of the best articles I’ve read. MENA stands for “Middle East North Africa,” in case you’re wondering. This post provides insight on the Twitter controversy about the hashtag #ThawretWeladElKalb, which is Arabic for “Sons of Dogs Revolution” that is used in reference to the Israeli protests (ugh)
  • ActiveStills.org is a great source for protest photographs. Their images are copyrighted, so I’m only sharing them by their good graces (I’ve told them I’m sharing them, but may have to take them down if they complain)
  • +972 Magazine – While no one has any doubts that this magazine is very Left wing, it also has some of the best news coverage out there and has made a concerted effort to provide meaty articles and up to the minute updates. Even if your politics aren’t aligned, their coverage is worth your time to learn more about this important issue. “+972” is a reference to Israel’s telephone country code. Also notable is that the publication is only about a year old.
  • As you’ve seen in my choice of citations on Twitter, I consider Dotan Z. Harpak and Elizabeth Tsurkov to be superior sources of information on that venue. I recommend them highly for a comprehensive overview of live protest coverage. Note that Dotan is reporting from news media sources and Elizabeth is attending the demonstrations live, both of which have individual merit
Here’s Where You Come In
This is the fourth week in a row that Israel as a nation has collectively protested. It is a central topic in our lives at work and in our personal conversations. As for me, I’ve been awake way too late every night reading everything I can and collecting hundreds of articles that I want to come back to.
This blog entry is meant to be a highlight only, not a complete overview by any means, so please do go ahead and ask questions and I’ll see if I can answer- or if another reader can. One of the most important conversations I had this past week was from a  friend who read my coverage of the protests last week and asked me about a post where I said I was both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. An interesting conversation arose from these two questions and I’m glad she had the courage to ask rather than just wonder. (I haven’t included her name here as I don’t want to single her out further.)
Why am I telling you this? Because I admire the courage to ask. Hope this post has provided some insight and a taste of what we’re experiencing here in Israel. I welcome your recommendations of what to read, who to follow, and your own thoughts and reflections. Take care and Shavua Tov.
[And sorry about the formatting- it’s a coding problem that I have spent several hours trying to fix without success. If you know something about why the line breaks aren’t working properly, by all means, get in touch – norton [at] bgu.ac.il.] 



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7 Responses to “The Nation Demands Social Justice” – For All

  1. Maya Norton says:

    Permanent shortcut: http://tinyurl.com/tnjngv. That’s TNJ for The New Jew and NGV for Negev.

    • Moishela says:

      Discussion with Moishela (with his family)
      A Handicapped child
      3 Av 5774 (July 29, ’14)

      “We Must Prepare Ourselves To Be Unblemished Sacrifices”

      Since the last time that I wrote, much has happened. The world has almost turned up-side-down. Besides the war that we are having here in Eretz Yisroel, many other wars have begun and the world has become a much more dangerous and frightening place. One of the reasons that it is so frightening, besides the fact that these wars are cruel, shooting, killing wars, with blood flowing freely, besides that fact, what frightens us the most is that much of what is happening today simply doesn’t work according to a logical mind, a normal logical mind. Pieces are missing from the puzzle that should be evident. We don’t know who the good guy is. We don’t know who the bad guy is. We don’t know from one minute to the other who is on whose side. Suddenly there are certain things that are uncovered that we had no inkling had ever been in existence, and they tell us in the highest places with the most knowledgeable of people so-to-speak that it has been there for the last ten, twenty, fifty years festering and growing and becoming monstrosities, and we scratch our heads and say how in the world did that happen. How did it become so bad? How come it came upon us in such a sudden way? How come no one knew, and if they knew, how come no one did anything?

      We trust the governments to make sure that all our medications are not dangerous to us. We trust the courts that they will give everybody a fair shake so-to-speak. We trust the doctors that they will give us the right diagnosis. We trust the economists that tell us that things are looking up financially, or they give us advice how to invest. We trust all the different aspects of the Egel Hazahav, but we don’t trust the Truth. The Truth is Hakodosh Boruch Hu, and we trust man more than the Truth with a capital T. I know that we are coming very close to Moshiach. I know that we’re soon going to throw off the bonds of this terrible Golus. I know that only those who recognize Truth, with a capital T will ever be able to live in a world of the Truth with a capital T, and therefore I want to explain to you that things look jumbled and not logical because it’s not the Truth. It’s not the way the world was created.

      What is happening today, it’s going against the Truth. Its degenerate, and its pulling us into a degenerate mode, and its taking over the whole world, and we have to resist. The only way to stop it is to recognize that something is very wrong here and we’re hanging on to the wrong lifesaver for dear life. We think we have a rubber tube to float on the water and be saved, but we don’t. It’s full of lead and it’s going to bring us down to the bottom of the sea, Chas Vesholom. What does Hashem want from us? How can we survive this terrible calamity, this evilness that has oozed out from every corner of the world that nobody realized existed in such a tremendous force? How can we survive all this? Who are we, only puny people without any strength. How can we survive this terrible, terrible flood of degeneracy? There is only one way. We have to prepare ourselves.

      We have to prepare ourselves now to greet Moshiach. We have to prepare ourselves to be perfect sacrifices, and yes I did say Korbanos Shleimos, and we have to be Shaleim, Shaleim or at least try very hard to be Shalem. If we don’t get to Shleimus, Hashem will make the Shleimus, but it will be so difficult and so hard, and cause us much pain, no less pain than an operation, only it will be a spiritual operation which can be much more painful than a physical operation. There’s no anesthetic for this kind of operation, and we’ll feel every single pain, so we must prepare ourselves to be Korbanos to be as pure as possible. Don’t get too frightened. I don’t mean that we’re all going to die Al Kiddush Hashem. I mean that Hashem wants us to live Al Kiddush Hashem, and He wants us to be as perfect as possible, and the way to become as perfect as possible is to trust Hashem completely. Trust everything He demands from us. Do not question one thing that He demands from us. We want to do His complete Ratzon. I’m not saying that we will be able to get to that high level, but we have to make a really, really good try for it. We have to really, really put our minds, hearts, and soul, and our bodies into this great endeavor, probably the greatest endeavor ever.

      Yitzchok Avinu was a perfect Korbon. He was a Korbon Shaleim. His father was ready to listen to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and sacrifice his only son. The only son that could continue and become the father of Am Yisroel, one of the fathers. Only Yitzchok could do that. He was willing to die because Hashem said so. That is the kind of Bitachon we have to have. In the end it was enough that Yitzchok allowed himself to be tied onto the Mizbayach so that he wouldn’t squirm when the knife came to his throat. He put his throat out so it would be easier for his father when he had to do the Shechting, and he was happy to do Hashem’s will, and Avraham Avinu didn’t hesitate once to Shecht his only son, because Hakodosh Boruch Hu wanted it, and he knew that everything that Hakodosh Boruch Hu does is for our good. He also knew that nothing that we have, nothing that we think we own, no child of ours is really ours. Nothing is ours. Everything is His, and we too are His, and that’s the way you achieve Shleimus.

      You have to be sure in every way that Hashem is Hakol Yachol and whatever He does is absolutely perfect for us, and will be the best thing for us no matter how much it makes us suffer, because our suffering is only an illusion. It’s from our twisted desires and we have to realize that this world is only a very short visit for us, and then we go to the next world. But now we won’t go to the next world. Im Yirtzeh Hashem, we’ll go straight to Olam Habah of Moshiach.

      So now my dear Yidden, be strong. It’s time to change. It’s time to take account of our lives, each part of our lives, and try to be much better because if we don’t do this we’re going to be in big trouble. I beg you, make an accounting. Balance your checkbook with Hashem. Find what you owe Him, and find what you think He owes you, and I‘m sure that we all will find that we are deeply, deeply in debt, and that we need to show Hashem how we love and trust Him, how we will do anything in the world that He asks us, even if it means our lives. That’s what we have to show Him. We are going to be called upon as Jews to be tested in the most difficult ways, and we must be close to Him. We must take out of ourselves all the superficial nonsense of this world of lies, of this world of Egel Hazahav, of this world of illusions and come to the truth. Its very frightening because all of your, what you call regular lives, is going to be totally, totally different. You’re going to have to give up things that have become out of disproportionately important to you, and you’re going to have to take from your heart all the petty nonsense that you so come to depend on to help you pass time in a superficial way. You are going to have to deal with the truth. It’s very frightening, and our lives will change. The great wealth that this so-called western world has known is going to vanish. It’s going to be gone. We are going to have to learn to live in a much more simple way, and that will help us become closer to Hashem. It is happening now already, and World War Three has begun already, and I think we can all see it, and it is going to spread. It’s going to become a great, great war, a great and frightening war, and I know that all true Jews will know that what I am saying now is true. Prepare yourselves my dear Jews, my dear Yidden. Hashem loves you and wants you back wants you back with Him. This is a lowly generation but the Jewish heart and soul is still here and on that Jewish heart and soul of every single Yid will be built Olam Habah of Moshiach.

      Q: Why don’t you sleep at night?
      A: I don’t sleep at night because I know that in the not so far future we’re really going to have to trust Hashem. We are going to realize that food and clothing and shelter will not be forthcoming so easily at all, and we will have to trust Hashem. When I say we I’m talking about the whole world. I’m talking about every single person in the world except those few who think that they can rule instead of Hashem, Chas Veshololm, but we will be the winners because in the end Hashem will banish them into nonexistence and we will get all the benefits. We will not starve to death and we will not be out in the cold if we trust in Hashem, if we trust the fact that He is Hakol Yachol.

      That’s why I cry, because I know it’s going to be very hard for many Yidden, and by the way do you realize how much of the world is going to be destroyed, Hashem Yishmor? It is said so clearly in the Nevuas. Do you realize what a shock that is? I don’t think there will be any CNN around to be able to photograph it, but what can I tell you? Just thinking about the shock of it is enough to make me cry, cry for Am Yisroel, cry for the whole world. The Reshaim are playing their sinister games of murder and bloodshed. They are such foolish people especially the Goyim the Jews are also being foolish because we are not coming close to the Truth, to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. We have made our whole lives superficial Yiddishkeit and all I can do is cry over it. We have split up into millions of factions instead of being one with Hashem, but Hashem will teach us. He loves us. He wants to save us, but we’re making it very hard on ourselves.

      Just remember that according to many great Torah sources most of the Jews of this generation, the generation just before the Geula Sheleima, will be Erev Rav. They can be Frum or secular but not true Jews and they will try to pull us away from the Truth.

      Yes my crying has to do with Am Yisroel. I’m so worried. It’s not so simple. We have to be strong and we have to be without blemish.

  2. t h schottenstein says:

    “new Jew”?! If your “hashkopha” represents the “new Jew” , I’ll stick
    with the “old”!!!!!!!!!

    • Maya Norton says:

      Can’t say that there’s much response to that as without your elaboration as I’m not willing to make assumptions about what your worldview might be.

      If you’d like to respond, we can have a discussion.

      ~ Maya

  3. Maya Norton says:

    Dear friends, I welcome your comments, but please note that I am traveling at present and will be without full internet access until the beginning of September.

    Take care and be well. Salam v’Shalom,

    ~ Maya

  4. Ittay says:

    four months later, do you think the protests have been a success? have they made Israel a better society? Has the government accepted many/any of their demands?

  5. Very useful post. Thanks for this post 🙂

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