We only need to stay alert to stop the tyranny’s second and last chance
Yesterday was very memorable. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Jerusalem while similar was going on in Tel Aviv. If Bibi would not halt the judiciary overhaul immediately, the country today would have come to a complete hold with the airport and seaport closed, every school from kindergarten to university close, a general labor strike as broad and heavy as never before, hospitals and courts only functioning for emergencies, stores and malls closed, etc. Try to go to work when the kids are home.
The weather was great, a bit on the warm side. Someone sold small bottles of ‘democracy water.’ I asked him what my water was that I brought from home. ‘Oh, that’s the rabbi’s water,’ he replied without missing a beat.
The general mood was excellent. Mostly gone were anger, disgust, worry, and despair, replaced by hope and confidence, relief and calm, and feelings of happiness and jolliness. Many up-beat songs were sung. There was ‘My democracy has three institutions’ on what everyone knows who went through Israeli kindergarten as: My hat has three corners. Also: ‘You try to change society, but run into a wrong generation for that.’
One of the demonstrators told me he was a refusenik from the IDF reserves. He didn’t have a decent night of sleep for weeks as he travels every day to several demonstrations all over the country. He told me that the establishment had been pressuring his parents (he was in his thirties!) to get him to stop. ‘Who does this, except for the mafia,’ he aptly asserted. ‘I’m not scared, and I won’t stop.’ Such fine people we have.
Humor was never far away. The number of our Chareidic demonstrators doubled: I saw another Chareidic. The pathetic (10% of our demo) and violent counter-demonstration would be after nightfall. Amusingly to me, those protestors also scanted: ‘Do-mo-cra-tia!’ and also, carried blue-and-white flags, only fewer because many were anti-Zionistic. And no rainbow flags. And few smiles. Anger, over-seriousness, hatred, and worry wrinkled their faces. The soccer club Beitar fans, known for their support for Bibi and racism, almost seemed happy but more drunk than anything. In Betzalel Street, they walked down while we walked up on the opposite side of the street. I began to climb the road on the other side encouraging them: ‘Be optimistic.’ Not because I approved of their silly cause, but when people are happy, they can’t hate. At the bus stop, waiting for a bus home for 45 minutes (the route toward the demo had lasted over 2 hours, slower than walking, with changing buses 4 times), I saw groups of demonstrators from whom I couldn’t tell if they were pro and anti. A keepa would mean pro-Bibi, a rainbow flag means anti-reform. We’re with Bibi, one guy said. I tested it. I began singing very happily: Netanyahu out of a job [‘Bibi habaita’] and they liked the first part but not the second word so they didn’t know what to do with it and so proved to be pro-Bibi.
Don’t forget the unprecedented number of demonstrators and declared strikes forced Netanyahu to not continue for now. He did not ‘prevent a civil war.’ He just postponed losing his job and possibly going to jail. There was no civil war in the cards. The whole country would have come to a standstill until he would stop. He had no choice. We won—for now.
As I’ve predicted for weeks now, this coalition lost its majority big time. The latest poll shows a loss of ten seats, from 64 to 54 out of 120 seats.
Don’t forget that the whole world was watching. We showed that a free People can stop bigots that infiltrated a democracy. So proud of us. Even while democracy’s professionals are totally confused. The High Court letting bigots stand in elections, sit in the Knesset, and enter government. Even when the AG says that a top-bigot may have repented while he sat with a disqualified top-bigot together in a public forum just two years ago. But why speculate? Let’s wait and see if he orders the police to arrest and bring to justice those Likud thugs who beat up Muslims yesterday.