It wasn’t easy for me to leave the house yesterday evening and join the march from Rothschild Boulevard to Kaplan. After hosting a Rosh Hashana lunch at our house and dealing with a mountain of dishes to wash, I found solace in the decision I made several months ago to dedicate my Time Of Israel blog to the protest. Knowing that I need to document these demonstrations serves as a powerful motivator, even when I’m feeling lazy and inclined to stay home. So, I drove to Tel Aviv and walked to Rothschild Boulevard, and I’m very glad I did.
The instructions for the march were to wear a white top. I found a shirt in my closet with the number 1325, which honors the United Nations Security Council resolution acknowledging the disproportionate suffering of women and girls in times of armed conflicts. It also recognizes the special abilities of women to solve conflicts, among other things, and demands that women will take a meaningful role in the decision process. At a time when women are pushed aside from the public sphere, this choice of Tshirt was significant to me.
Unfortunately, as I marched, for almost two hours, alongside a massive crowd of like-minded people protesting against the Judicial Overhaul, it seemed that nobody noticed my T-shirt among the thousands of white tops.
Last night’s march was special and solemn. It followed a historic day at the Supreme Court where representatives of the government and the Knesset attempted to undermine Israel’s values and national symbols. One notable instance occurred when the attorney for the current government made disparaging remarks about the Declaration of Independence, claiming it was hastily written and signed by 37 people who were not elected. This statement is not random; it is part of an ongoing effort to delegitimize the state’s secular text, which is nearly sacred to the citizens of Israel.
On the first day of the Jewish New Year, we awoke to the news that someone had torched the idiosyncratic statue of David Ben Gurion (another state symbol: the man, not the statue) the founder of the Jewish state, standing on its head in Bograshov Beach. Later that weekend, the man responsible for the act was found, a poor homeless individual. It’s hard to believe that he wasn’t compensated for his actions by those who likely coerced him into doing it.
Thus, last night, we marched from the old Tel Aviv Museum where the Declaration of Independence was signed on May 14th, 1948, and where the celebrations took place, to the Place of Democracy at the intersection of Kaplan and Begin Street.
It was precisely the kind of march that was fitting to start the New Year with hope and promises of democracy. Happy New Year!