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economy and labor

The Social Protest and the Stork

T

he protest in its various branches led many of us to hope for change, for a new understanding that might rescue the country from the mire into which it is sinking.

The protest's leaders, aware of its expanding force, aimed of course to include ever broader circles of the population: the middle and lower classes, the religious and the secular, Jews and Arabs, those living west of the green line and the settlers living east of it.

This understandable passion to embrace and include just EVERY-BODY runs in the very arteries of the protest, but it now appears to be impeding progress and real revolution. In order to include just EVERY-BODY (which, by the way, isn't happening), the protest has to be careful and walk on tiptoe. It disguises itself as a hasida in both senses [the Hebrew word means "stork," but its root is related to the word for hypocrisy, sham piety]. Like a stork it stands on one leg only, socio-economic. It tries to conceal the other leg in its feathers, looking away and pretending it isn't there. This second leg (which may really be the first) is the leg of the occupation and the settlements, tucked beneath the feathers.

But in the nature of things, those not born with a long beak and feathers cannot (and in our case haven't the right to) keep standing on a single leg and pretending that the other doesn't exist. This studied abstention concerning the second leg does not work to the good of the cause. The protest must raise the issue of the occupation and the settlements as one of the major ills that has led to the present situation. The unequal distribution of resources stems not only from serving large slices of the state's economic pie to the tycoons and monopolies. Massive resources also went into building infrastructure for the West Bank settlements, which were positioned to prevent any change in the status quo. The best of the state's economic, moral and political energies have been invested/wasted in the territories for the past 44 years. Even now, amid promises of affordable housing that are dispersed in every direction, Israel continues to build massively in the occupied territories. To ignore all this is to whitewash reality.

And further. A protest that fails to mention our prime minister—as one whose management of the country is riddled with narcissism and neglect; as one who is supposed to lead the country with concern for the well-being of its citizens, for their present and their future, exercising real thought and action to this end, and who instead disperses promises with the life expectancy of an hour—is no protest at all.

Persistence in such caution, and the avoidance of all things "political," will not enable deep change in the present system. From caution like this comes no revolution. "end"

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