Sunday, 17 October 2010

Give me strength...

I even went for a run this morning!

Energy seems to have been the theme of the last few days, what with me and Mark both running around like a couple of headless chickens after Roni. I honestly don't know where she gets her energy from.

However, 'energy' is 'Meretz' in Hebrew, and Meretz is of course the liberal, dovish left-wing political party in Israel. I have always thought that when I made aliyah I would be voting for Meretz. Of course I first started to think about making aliyah in the days when Meretz had influence in government. After all, when I first considered aliyah in the 1990s, my (distant) cousin and Meretz founder Shulamit Aloni had only fairly recently stepped down from her post as Education Minister in Rabin's government. Fifteen-odd years and an intifada later and things are vastly different today. Meretz is increasingly sidelined in Israeli politics and with it the voice of the left wing, peaceloving Israelis.

Until, it seems, the other night when driving into Tel Aviv, Mark and I were wondering why the traffic was so heavy. Of course, heavy traffic is not strange for Tel Aviv, even on a Shabbat evening, so perhaps we shouldn't have bothered wondering.... Anyway, out wonderings were soon answered as we drove down Kaplan St we saw a procession of a few thousand people, demonstrating against a new policy that has recently been backed by the governmnet: the notion that all Arab- and non-Jewish Israeli citizens should pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state.

I am proud to report to you that democracy is alive and well in Israel as demonstrators shouted "Lieberman, Lieberman, gam facist ve gam gizan!" ("Lieberman, Lieberman, a facist and a racist!") and held placards declaring that "Jews and Arabs will not be enemies!"

I am not so naive as to think that this demonstration will reverse the political tide whereby Israel is moving ever more to the right, but I am so relieved that people are noticing this disturbing pattern and mobilising and doing something about it. A recent Ha'aretz article I read in this weekend's Herald Tribune supplement bemoaned the apathy of modern liberal 'Tel Avivi types' who care more about what's happening in their TV soaps than in the very real political life of Israel. I was so happy to find that there are Israelis who are truly awake to what's happening in their own lives, and acting to do something about it. I hope that I will become one of them.

PS I was going to leave it there but when browsing for coverage of this demonstration, it is front page in Haaretz, but nowhere to be found on the BBC website, or on The Guardian or Telegraph websites, who are just covering the actions of the settlers.... just an interesting thought, I thought.......


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