Don’t protest Tel Aviv’s new light rail

That’s right, I said it. 

When an otherwise incompetent, xenophobic, and even, in my view, annoying government accidentally succeeds in doing something positive, we should celebrate, not pretend to hate it. 

I’m aware that most of the protests were aimed at one single policy regarding the train, namely, it not really operating on Sabbath. Nevertheless, I find protesting against it on the day it launches ridiculous. 

That is not to say that I don’t agree with the argument; public transport that only carries workers and excludes carrying people trying to unwind on the weekend does not wholly justify its purpose. We shouldn’t strive to create a society where the sole value of a person is their labor and its fruit. 

Even though over the last fifty years, Israel shifted, economically, from being a socialist state to then switching sides thus giving way to unbridled capitalism, I’d still hope that in the nation’s eyes, a train is not simply a tool to carry laborers. 

Establishing that I favor the cause of the protesters, I also want to highlight that protesting the train’s operating hours should not come with it being discussed in the same paragraph as the judicial overhaul. I understand that after half a year of continuous resistance, some people may miss the touch of the flag in their hands even during the week. Still, unfortunately, not every injustice is worth protesting. 

That’s weird even for me, to write that, but seeing the amount of corruption and unfairness, especially in Israel, the light rail is just not it. It’s not. Arabs are dying, Palestinians are dying, the judiciary is dying, the economy is halting, racists still rule the state, etc, etc, etc. 

That’s crazy, a train does not operate on the Sabbath in a religious country, a country literally defined (Jewish and democratic) by its religion. WOW. No way that just happened. WOW. 

Of course, it’s Tel Aviv, where people protest a train, where else could it be? Whenever I’m faced with the difference between Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel, it’s always so obvious; Medinat Tel Aviv is real. It’s just a whole different place. 

But it’s summer, so who cares? Even Tel Avivians get bored, and when they do, they protest the new light rail they got. Meanwhile, their eastern neighbors don’t have human or political rights and Israel is collapsing on itself. 

Knock yourselves out, Tel Avivians, I say, while wanting to be like them.

It’s a dangerous game that these protesters are playing, taking the chance of accidentally delegitimizing the protest movement, and attaching irrelevant spinoffs to it. Hey, maybe it will work out, maybe, after a couple of rounds of back and forth, the government will back off, letting the train operate even on Saturday evenings.  

As always, I’m only sad that the lives truly worth protesting for, Palestinian lives receive none of the fighting rage of the protesting Israeli liberal elite and, as a cause for outrage, are replaced with a train that can’t even fight back or decide for itself if it wants to work on Saturday evenings. 

About the Author
Fred is an 18-year-old writer sharing his many thoughts about American and Israeli politics. He was born in Budapest and since he was 11, he is also an Israeli citizen.
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