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Shabbat 35th in Kaplan: Goodwill, Sanity and Solidarity

One of the more creative signs held up in Kaplan last night read: “Week 35, soon we start the 9th month and give birth to a democracy.” If we develop the metaphor, so far, what we have experienced are only Braxton Hicks, and every mother knows that they are just a nuisance.

Earlier yesterday, a real tragedy unfolded in South Tel Aviv: the Eritrean Dictatorial Government attempted to organize a celebration promoting its regime. In the clashes between supporters of that government, asylum seekers, and the police, over 170 people were wounded, including 49 policemen.

Like so many absurd and cynical actions that the new government promotes, this one should have been avoided, but responsible adults are nowhere to be found. Quite the contrary, the ministers and Members of Knesset seem to derive a strange satisfaction from sowing chaos and spreading discord wherever they turn.

In contrast, the protest yesterday was solemn and thoughtful. In preparation for the new year, the group Parents Against Child Detention placed chairs in the middle of Kaplan Street arranged like an empty classroom, facing a sign that read: “The class is empty, and the children are detained.” This was in protest of the policy of arresting and detaining Palestinian children who end up in jail instead of going to school. It was extremely disturbing.

And if we focus for a moment on Israeli children, they too are not getting the education they deserve. In recent decades, anti-democratic elements like the Kohelet organization have managed to fill the gap of indifference and apathy in the secular schools’ curriculum, rewriting textbooks in areas such as civics and inserting non-democratic content. Last night, a recent high school graduate, Yuli Yavin, who led the battle against those textbooks, gave a poignant speech in Kaplan. She talked about  her experience, and  warned parents to be vigilant. It seems that we have slept for too long.

And in the end, something a bit hopeful: Shikma Bressler, who led the Kaplan event last night, asked the audience to go and donate blood once the demonstration was over, as many people were wounded in the riots.

Paradoxically, the protest against the Judicial Overhaul in Kaplan, and the rest of the country, remains an oasis of goodwill, sanity, and solidarity amidst the ongoing crisis in Israel.

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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