Oudeh Basharat writes:
In days gone by there were long lines of cars at the gas stations on the eve of a rise in prices. The late comedian Dudu Topaz ridiculed the Israeli citizen who “puts one over” on the state by stocking up before the price increase, opportunistic individualism was at its zenith, and people used elbows energetically to obtain yet one more cheap liter of fuel.
Moreover, up until half an hour before the Rothschild intifada erupted, the economics reporters were still feeding us stories about the paradise in which we live, about the wonders of the Israeli economy that survived the worldwide crash. The ordinary citizen asked himself: If the economy is so far up, why are we so far down?
Now, it emerges, the economic press has been like a cunning high-school principal who allows five of 40 students to take the matriculation exams, and then boasts of 100 percent success. For the tycoons everything is glitzy whereas nobody ever goes to see the backyard. And all along representatives of the government and the “court” reporters explained that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the masses who couldn’t make it until the end of the month were urged to stand tall and show their pride in this hollow patriotism.
After a while, however, the masses discovered that in the only democracy there is no voice except that of swinish capitalism, and an opposition functioning as the coalition’s watchdog. The dizzying economic “success” was the second episode in the series; in the first, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – during his term in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government – wiped out the welfare state, and the press told us that the Israeli economy had been saved. About this kind of paradox, people say: “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”
This month it has emerged that this dead man is alive and kicking – and hurting. “I wonder from where you came to know the struggle?” poet Abdel Rahman Abnoudi asked the young people at Tahrir Square in Cairo, the “mother” of all squares. There as here, after years of despondency, they had eulogized the young generation. They had convinced them it wasn’t worth struggling because there was no other way: either corrupt dictatorship or fanatical religious zealousness. In this country, they convinced the young people that there was nothing to be done: The choice was either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigodor Lieberman with the tycoons – or opposition leader Tzipi Livni with Lieberman and the tycoons.
The young people of Rothschild, like the young people of Tahrir, have proved that revolutions bubble like subterranean currents, and even when they are not visible they continue to flow. This outburst will grow even stronger and will start to raise fundamental questions about the connections between the huge investment in the settlements and the worsening plight of other citizens. This outburst will yet lead the Rothschild revolutionaries, who are fighting against the tycoons’ exploitation, to conclude that they cannot fight their exploiters and at the same time be the exploiters of the another people’s young population.
The Arab population, schooled in suffering and struggles, is watching what is happening on Rothschild with tremendous sympathy. The fight against exploitation has captured its heart – whether in Tel Aviv or in Aleppo. After the bitter experience that has been this population’s lot, the state is perceived as destructive, not constructive.
The Arab citizens and their leadership must now join the general struggle and insist that the government treat them as equal citizens. This integration will be a worthy opening shot in a process that will lead to deeper understanding of the civil essence of their struggle.
And let us return to Abnoudi, who warned the Tahrir revolutionaries about “the wolves.” This advice is also sound for the Rothschild revolutionaries. After all, in the tall buildings where the lights are burning nonstop, people are not necessarily working on rectifying injustice. Perhaps someone there is thinking about how to make the September tsunami happen sooner.