1,000 Tables – Come Witness a Society Transforming Itself
Posted by David Harris-Gershon
Originally published on Daily Kos
The symbolic democratization of a protest movement occurred on Saturday as thousands of citizens across Israel gathered around tables, determined to talk, to transform their society through dialogue in the wake of the country’s largest-ever protest.
In over 30 cities across the country, Israelis from a multitude of political, cultural and ethnic backgrounds engaged in highly personal and often intense discussions about political and social issues, with everyone eying how to transform their country for the better.
At tables set for 10 people, Jews talked with Arabs, blue collar workers spoke with pensioners, lawyers spoke with university students, secular Jews spoke with Orthodox Jews – everyone trying to transform their country through dialogue.
Called “1,000 tables,” Israel’s young social justice protesters turned this…
Citizens all over the country engaged with each other, collectively sharing personal thoughts and hammering out ideas on how to improve the country, on how to create a more just society.
Here, listen for a moment:
Table 49 – Tel Aviv
My mother fought in the war in 1948, and I can tell you this is not the state she intended to fight for.
Table 111 – Tel Aviv
This struggle arose so that it would be possible for us to speak, together, about social issues not related to the typical security or war discussions.
Table 489 – El Arakiv
I’m here to relay a message, and it’s that the Arab community in Israel is suffering from a lack of equality. Period.
Table 9 – Tevayon
It’s essential that we create groups of Jewish and Arab children who can talk about things other than the conflict that exists between them. We’re all human – we need to speak.
Table 7 – Jerusalem
If we want to keep living here, things have to change – we need continued activism.
Table 331 – Kiryat Yovel
We hate each other, and that’s our problem. We need to change ourselves and worry more about each other.
Table 191 – Tel Aviv
Equal opportunities must exist for everyone, from the North to the South.
This event was part of what Israel’s youthful protest organizers are calling “phase 2,” a phase in which organizers hope to effect political and social changes in Israel through direct dialogue with citizens and with the government.
Tonight’s event comes on the heels of the largest protest in Israel’s history last week in which nearly 500,000 Israelis (which would be 19,000,000 in the U.S.) marched in the streets, demanding economic and social reforms from Netanyahu’s government.
In Israel, we are witnessing a society being transformed, and this transformation is being led by Israel’s youth, in particular Daphi Leef, the woman who began all of this eight weeks ago when, as an act of civil disobedience, she camped in the streets of Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s extreme housing costs (and the growing unequal distribution of wealth in the country).
This protest movement in Israel is inspiring, and protest leaders here in the U.S. could look toward what is happening there for examples of how to mobilize a nation.
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