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Shabbat 24th: Emerging Leaders of The Struggle

Last night was the 24th Shabbat of demonstrations against the Judicial overhaul.  Although there is no end in sight, we all understand the importance of  being part of the struggle. Yesterday I joined the rally of the civic groups from  Dizengoff Plaza toward Kaplan, there were many flags and noisy whistles and some people held torches

Since the beginning of January over a quarter million Israelis have been dedicating every Saturday night to the demonstrations. We have come to realize that struggles take time. Unlike military operations which usually end after several days, civil uprising or struggles could take years (the 2nd Intifada, for example,  lasted for over 4 years, and the outcomes were bleak). 

 Being in the midst of the struggle it’s hard to imagine the day after,  still we must never despair.  Being in Kaplan every Saturday fills me with hope, listening to the  speakers on stage (yesterday Tzipi Livni, and Or-Ly Barlev spoke, and last week  it was Shikma Bressler)  gives me hope. But on a regular basis I get my daily  dose of hope from Karine Nahon, who founded the Nahon’s WhatsApp groups for updates on the struggle.

Dr Karine Nahon, a professor of Information Technology, and Society,  at Reichman University, understood from the beginning the value of updating and motivating the activists. Thus she created special WhatsApp  groups which report news from the demonstrations and recruit people for special  assignments, like protesting at lectures, conferences, in front of politicians homes etc. Thanks to these groups we keep a close touch, and know at any given moment what is going on. As a scholar and an activist Nahon understands the dangers of burnout  due to  fatigue and less of progress. So she gently, but constantly, provides the participants  with  reasons to keep on going. As a member of a Nahon’s group (there are 13 groups and over thirteen thousands people), I trust the group as a source of  information, and I have come to rely on Nahon’s encouragement when I am feel frustrated.  Her personal messages are less manifestos and more micro motivational speeches. For  example, last month  the headquarter of the struggle announced  a special day of disruptions. Nahon decided to provide the activists with an explanation about this drastic act.  On the morning of May 4th  she wrote:  “Good morning everyone. Why do we disrupt the order? In democracies disruption is an act of public participation which is used by social movements to express protest….”

“How do we disrupt? Disruption of daily life is done in different levels from installations, demonstrations, rallies, tents etc.” 

This short text immediately placed the day of disruption in the right context, as it is  a democratic tool to express disagreement with the actions of  the government.  Her messages to the  groups are always short, to the point and optimistic. It is an inspired strategy to motivate weary activists, and to give them a sense of purpose and even pride.

Nahon has emerged in this struggle as a true leader, who so far chose to do most of her work behind the scenes.  Hopefully  once we overcome the attempt to make Israel a dictatorship worthy people like Karine Nahon will step up to be part of the new order.

 

 

 

 

 

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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