Skip to main content

Israeli Social Justice Movement Switches Gears

Israelis no longer flock to the streets, yet the social protest is far from over and can still bring about political transformation.
Protesters take part in a rally calling for social justice and a lower cost of living in Rabin square in Tel Aviv October 29, 2011. About 20,000 people marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening and then gathered at Rabin square in  the first protest after about two months following a wave of social protests around Israel. REUTERS/Daniel Bar On (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS) ISRAEL OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ISRAEL - RTR2TE9N
Read in 

Two years after Israel’s social protests, also known as the tent protest, the past weekend's anniversary events did not produce tens of thousands of people taking to the streets. Yet contrary to what politicians would like to think, it would be a great mistake to assume that this heralds the failure or demise of the social protest. Quite the contrary: Although the protest may have taken on a new shape, it is nevertheless alive and kicking, ever-present across society and in the consciousness of the Israeli public.

Having shown no confidence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the last elections, the Israeli public believed that young stars Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett would introduce the necessary changes in the economy and society. But by now, the people have come to the realization that not only has their economic situation not changed since the elections, it has essentially taken a turn for the worse. Yet the fact that only a couple of thousand people rallied on Saturday night [July 13] does not mean that the public has given up hope following its disappointment with the politicians. By and large, Israelis are not disheartened. Perhaps better than ever before, they appreciate the power they hold in their hands, still believing they can alter their fate and future.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.