Orna Raz

Day 269 Of The War: From Poland To Kaplan

Before the demonstration starts, my photo
Before the demonstration starts, my photo

After being away for a week in Poland, I felt the urgency to be in Kaplan again. So last Saturday, I arrived early to the Democracy Square at the corner of Begin and Kaplan, standing by the stage to  to reserve a standing room by the stage to be able to see and hear the speakers. It was quite amazing how, within an hour, a relatively empty intersection became immensely crowded with protesters, and the surrounding streets were completely full as well.

Being in Poland for a week gave me hope that things in Israel could change for the better if we fight for democracy. Until the last election, and especially under the eight-year rule of the Law and Justice party, Poland ceased to be a democracy. Yet the recent election results restored Poland’s commitment to the European Union and to democratic values. So,we could say that  I came back with renewed energy and hope.

In Kaplan two young activists, Kalanit Sharon and Or Sheinberg, led the event. This time, we heard from a prominent actress, Alma Zack, who told the crowd that she dreads raising her daughters in the dismal reality in Israel right now. The second speaker was Itay Gaver, an officer from Kiryat Shmone in the north, an evacuee, and a student who had just been released from reserve duty after more than 215 days. A man who cannot go back home because he has no home to return to, and is part of a large group of citizens who were abandoned by the government. The last speaker was Avi Issacharoff, a journalist and expert on Palestinian affairs, who devoted his important speech to emphasizing the brotherhood and solidarity within the Israeli public that Netanyahu tries to destroy . At the end of his speech, he spoke directly, in Arabic, to our enemies and urged them not to escalate the situation. It was  very moving to hear the Arabic, U felt that using Kaplan as a means to speak directly to the leaders on the other side is one of the best ways to prove to them that people in Israel wish to live in peace.

As usual, at the end of the protest, the demonstrators walked to Begin Bridge to stand together with the families of the hostages and to demand their immediate release.On Saturday they were in captivity for 267 days. This evening we are looking forward to a  special event in Tel Aviv to promote discussion of the day after, named “It’s About Time.” I shall report in my next post.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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