An Is­raeli protest

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis -

There have been few more egre­gious ex­am­ples of un­think­ing com­men­tary about Is­rael than the ref­er­ences by some pun­dits and politi­cians in re­cent weeks to what they term the ‘Is­raeli Sum­mer’, as if the ‘Tent City’ protest in Tel Aviv was some­how an ex­ten­sion of the Arab Spring. The Arab pro­tes­tors were seek­ing ba­sic free­doms in coun­tries ruled by despots. The Is­raeli protests are the ex­act op­po­site — an ex­am­ple of that very free­dom of ex­pres­sion which the Arab pro­test­ers sought and which is at the heart of Is­raeli life. In­deed, as we re­port this week, the Is­raeli protests are not even, when ex­am­ined closely, an es­pe­cially new phe­nom­e­non.They­may­have­beensparked­byanger­about­the­cost of liv­ing and rents but they have meta­mor­phosed into a catch-all protest for many long-stand­ing is­sues, such as the dis­quiet from parts of Is­raeli so­ci­ety about ben­e­fits to unem­ployed Charedim and fis­cal trans­fers to set­tler com­mu­ni­ties. The protests have made for an un­com­fort­able sum­mer for the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment. They are im­por­tant enough on their own terms, with­out pre­pos­ter­ous claims about an ‘Is­raeli Sum­mer’.

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