A guide to protesting the judicial reform
Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to take to the streets and protest the impending judicial reform here in Israel. And just in time, as protests will most likely be criminalized shortly. Along with the crime of carrying carbohydrates in your bag (take it from me, carbs are waaaay tastier in your belly!) and the heinous crime of allowing a young girl to sing at an event with men. Oy.
First things first, you’ll need some comfortable shoes. No, not flip-flops. You can’t run from the angry Bibi trolls that hurl obscenities (and spit) at you in flip flops. Same goes for Crocs. I recommend the fugly “Blundstone” shoes or the settler’s special — the Teva sandal with socks. That’ll keep the other side confused.
Besides, from my experience at the protests yesterday (I got caught up in a protest on my way to eat lunch), they tend to do a lot of walking. I made it all the way to Kaplan from the Bursa before I realized my lunch hour was up. See my recommendation for comfortable footwear above.
Next, you’ll need a sign. But wait, before you raid your kids’ crayons and start coming up with catchy slogans, try to be at least as original as iconic Israeli author Etgar Keret, whose sign read: “I used to write books, now I write on signs!” Now that’s clever! Not like the weirdo who was draped in an Israeli flag with a sign written in red sharpie that says: “Install Ehud Barak as replacement Prime Minister now!” Now, hold on a second. I’m no fan of the Bibs, but he was elected democratically. I don’t know how the act of removing a democratically elected prime minister and forcefully replacing him with another former prime minister (who wasn’t even elected to the Knesset) brings Israel any closer to salvaging the democracy. That’s ridiculous. Let’s not fight the impending dictatorship with dictatorial moves.
Speaking of slogans, the biggest one that everyone was shouting seemed to be “De-mo-cratia!” which is the Hebrew way of saying “Democracy.” But sometimes the protesters around me would start screaming “Lo Dic-ta-tura!” which means, “No dictatorship!” but with the noise and the confusion, I could hear some people chatting “Dic-ta-tura!” which I’m assuming is NOT what we want. We want democracy.
And what if, instead of calling them “dictators,” we all decided that from now on they would be known as “tater dics!” What kind of self-respecting despot would want to be called a tater dic? Not one. Maybe that would solve the issue.
Next up, you need a weirdo. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking dear readers. You’re all a bunch of weirdos. And anarchists. While I don’t disagree about the “weirdos” (I wear that badge with pride), we’re definitely not anarchists. When I looked around, I saw a lot of grandmothers and teenagers, but I didn’t see any anarchists.
But an uber-weirdo needs to lead. Just like in the protest there was one guy wearing a pink sweatsuit and beating a drum at the front of the line. He reminded me of the January 6th Shaman dude wearing that Viking hat. If you don’t see an uber-weirdo in your group, please assume that role.
Oh, and since I was protesting during working hours, does that technically make me a paid protester?
Next up, you gotta make noise. No protest is complete without air horns blaring or spoons banging against pots. You’re competing with angry drivers marooned on the Ayalon, police officers screaming, and obese Bibi trolls on scooters wishing for your death. The noise will also drown out the infamous words of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that keep echoing in your mind (because your mom used to be an ESL teacher here): “I have no dot… perished sotzial dev, devel… development.”
Finally, you need to display your discontent with the judicial reform on your sleeve. Literally. You can wear a shirt that says “I love Bagatz,” like the grandmother before me. I didn’t necessarily love the Supreme Court, but I think it beats a religious court. Or a kangaroo court. But NOT a food court. I should have worn that as a slogan.
Make sure you’ve made arrangements to pick up your kids from kindergarten before you go protesting. A video went viral on TikTok the other day showing a protester getting carted off and yelling to the press: “Tell my wife to pick up the kids from gan! It’s my day to pick them up!” To which the journalist replied: “What’s her name?”. The guy yelled: “Maya! Maya Eish-Shalom!” I certainly hope she picked up the kids.
Oh, you’ll need a flag. Lots of protesters waving the Israeli flag. A pride flag is also very common. Some people on the right have been triggered by the sight of a Palestinian flag in the ranks of the protesters. I don’t mind the Pride flag (as that’s one group that will DEFINITELY be negatively affected by the reform), but an Israeli flag seems a bit too nationalistic for me. And a Palestinian flag seems to go to the other extreme. Can’t we all just settle on maybe a pirate’s flag?
Finally, there’s the other side — the police. Those who have followed my posts over the years (10 years here at Times of Israel!) know how I feel about the po po. Dr. Dre said it best: “I’m still not loving police…” but here’s the thing — most of the boys in blue are caught up in this. Most. Some enjoy beating the daylights out of “stinking leftists,” but the majority (I hope) are just caught up in a bad place, trying to do their job and come home at the end of the day to their families. Remember that, for the most part, they’re forced to stand out in the heat (or under a tree) in the heat, suffer insults and abuse. In general, try to keep our anger directed at the people who deserve it — those who wish to undermine the only democracy in the Middle East.
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Protests will resume Saturday night throughout the country.
However, critical (and somewhat satirical) blog posts will not be able to continue if the reform passes.