Since July the 14th, the streets are ebullient. Commentators speculate about how much influence the Arab Spring imparted on the Israelis, and some wonder about the role of the Indignados in Spain as trendsetters. But the Arab Spring is about a set of rights that Israelis take for granted (freedom of speech, democracy), and Europe is deeply impacted by an economic crisis, while the Israeli economy is growing at an annual rate of 5%. Yet, inspiration has admittedly been drawn from both. If ideas are like a virus, revolutions must be the epidemic. What started as a lament against rising food prices turned into massive protests against social injustice. For most Israelis, life is impossibly expensive. The high prices are artificially induced by monopolies and cartels, who themselves are under control of a handful of powerful families.
Until now, the atmosphere is festive, public demands are varied and sometimes contradictory, but there is a revolutionary undertone since wealth redistribution is at the heart of the matter. I took the picture below at the end of the largest protest gathering in Israel's history (so they say). Some protest signs are witty, daring, playful. Here we see Bibi Netanyahu with a revolutionary beret. The caption says, "Be a man, huh?", which in Hebrew approximates phonetically Che Guevara's name.
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