Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bibi ha'Baita - Pipi v'Lishon

I was there. My husband was there. My daughter, son-in-law and grandson were there. We were part of the 150,000 who marched and demonstrated last night throughout Israel for social justice.

It is hard to put into words the feelings of pride, solidarity, and the belief that a change is taking over this land.

Babies in strollers are doin' it
Children are doin' it
University students are doin' it
Young professionals are doin'it
Parents are doin' it
Middle aged are doin' it
And the elderly are doin' it too

Our new national anthem has become:
Ha'am doresh - Tzedek chevrati
(The people demand social justice)
and it is a beautiful anthem, especially when hundreds of thousands of ordinary people chant it

I was in the march and demonstration in Beer Sheva.
Beer Sheva, the 'capital' of the Negev, is usually a quiet city, where it's 200,000 people work - many in the hospital and university or shopping centers - go about their daily lives, go shopping and drink coffee at one of the cafes, but do not go out into the streets to protest. 

Last night, 9,000 (!) came out to protest. Last night, religious and secular, Jews and Arabs, younger and older , came from throughout the city and from the surrounding towns, kibbutzim and moshavim, who are usually forgotten citizens of the periphery, to march together and shout: "Who, ha, mi ze ba? Midinat haRevacha" (Who - ha, who is coming? The welfare state)

The speeches at the demonstration at the City Hall square, where the march ended, reflected the voices of the people:  
The head of the Tent City in Beer Sheva promised not to give up, until social change was achieved.
The vice chair of the city's welfare department - a woman - spoke about the need for affordable housing and social welfare
The initiator of the Stroller March - a young mother - talked about the demand for free quality education for all citizens, and for the need to care for the elderly as well

After years of being in a deep sleep, the people of Israel are awakening.
The people demand social justice!

Yesterday, before the demonstrations began, my daughter, son-in-law and grandson came to visit us at Urim. Shachar, who is just a bit over 2 years old, sang us his new song, that he learned at the Stroller March in Tel Aviv last week:

Bibi ha'baita - Pipi v'Lishon
(Bibi - go home, go to the bathroom, and then to sleep...)

The people of this country are waking up after years of being in a deep sleep
Our 'leaders' are still asleep, hoping that they will wake up, and find that this was just a bad dream
It would serve them well to wake up soon (today) and begin to do the job they were elected to do - serve the people, not destroy them...

While the people of this country are going out into the streets, and reclaiming their rights to affordable housing, decent medical care, quality and free education for their children, our 'leaders' are trying to decide if they should cancel their summer recess, and begin seriously addressing our calls

Bibi Bibi titorer - anachnu ken shavim yoter
Bibi Bibi wake up! We are worth more!

It's often hard for me to take pride in my country. Over the years, we have done so many oppressive things, and caused so much harm, in the name of security. We have become a people rooted in such deep fear and hatred of Palestinians and others in our region, that we allocate between 54 - 62 billion dollars a year for defense. Privatization has become our middle name. The very very very rich have become very very very very rich, while the poor and the middle class have found that they can no longer achieve the most basic things that make one's life a life of dignity. 

Over these past few weeks, I have been able to become proud again. The social revolution is just beginning, but it is quickly gaining momentum. The social revolution is bringing together Jews and Arabs, young and old, secular and religious, whites and blacks. The social revolution is calling out loud and clear:

Atem midabrim al nadlan, anachu al ha'bait
(You are talking about real estate, we are talking about our home!)

Bibi, ha'Baita - Pipi v'Lishon

1 comment:

  1. Julia, thanks for sharing this. I returned from Greece today very pleased to find out that a wave of change is sweeping Israel too for good. That is my sense as well, that through this demand for social justice, we are regaining dignity as a society, it is certainly a boost, and want to support it grow.
    best, Yvette