'What annoys Israelis most is idea that they were inspired by Arab model for revolution,' writes Palestinian columnist after Tel Aviv activist confirms to al-Jazeera: If Egyptian people can do it, so can we
protesters march to Bibi's home - Protesters say Netanyahu's Jerusalem's apartment unused, seek to 'put it up for sale'
Students march with dumpsters in Tel Aviv - Housing protest in full swing from early morning as inspectors issue eviction orders to tent dwellers in south Tel Aviv
Ynet reporters Published: 07.27.11
Arab newspapers buzzing with news of the popular protests in Israel are drawing comparisons between the massive demonstrations over housing and medicine and those that occurred in neighboring countries, which in some cases toppled regimes.
In a column published Wednesday by Hishar Munawar in the London-based Elaf website, the columnist asks, "Have the Arab winds of change reached Israel?"
Munawar says the protests in Israel are proof that the Arab uprising was not an "American-Zionist project", as many have claimed.
"A whole sector of scholars and elitists doubted the popular protests in the Arab states. They doubted the timing and the true reasons for the masses taking to the streets," Munawar writes.
"Conspiracy theories took over the thoughts of these scholars to such an extent that they began to be convinced of the Arab people's incapability of creating their own revolution, without outside help. These scholars hesitated to support the popular movements and publicly stated that some of the protesters were traitors working for the enemies – Israel and the US."
But the protests in Israel proved these unbelievers wrong, Munawar writes, citing as proof slogans recited by Israeli, such as "Netanyahu resign" and "The people want social justice".
"The government did not use security forces or any unjustified force afterwards in order to suppress these protests," he says, adding that "activists in Tel Aviv admitted they were influenced by the Egyptian model for change".
In fact, a number of protesters interviewed in Tel Aviv have made the comparison between their demonstration and those that took place in Tahrir Square. "Our battle here was influenced by the protests in Tahrir," one protester told Al-Jazeera.
"If the Egyptian people can do it, so can we. We also have corruption and a warped sense of priorities. Funds should not go to the army and settlements but to us."
Munawar was not the only one to see Arab influence in the Israeli protests. Writing for the Palestinian paper al-Ayyam, columnist Hassan Khader agrees with this view.
"Columnists in Israel were quick to deny the similarities between the recent protests and what happened in Tahrir Square in Egypt, but why do they deny the incredible similarities?" he asks.
In response, Khader writes that "the Israelis don’t want to admit that what has been happening in the Arab world recently affects them in many ways, and that this is an attempt at imitating the Egyptian model, even if the demands are different and there is no call to topple the regime".
"What annoys the Israelis most of all is the idea that they were inspired by the Arab model for revolution."
Khader, who appears proud of this influence, hopes that the protests do end up toppling the government.
Housing protestors march to Bibi's home - Some 150 university students and social activists marched to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence in downtown Jerusalem Wednesday evening to protest Israel's dire housing situation.
The housing protestors said that the apartment is not being used by the PM, who has two other residences, and therefore they intend to "put it up for sale."
During their march, the demonstrators chanted various slogans, including "the answer to privatization is revolution" and "the people demand social justice." The protestors also urged coffee shop goers to join them, prompting several to join the march.
Along the route, the protestors disrupted traffic on several occasions and for a few minutes blocked the road leading to the prime minister's official residence. Police forces set up roadblocks in the area in order to prevent the activists from approaching the site.
Students march with dumpsters in Tel Aviv - Protests over housing prices continued bright and early Wednesday morning, with dozens of students making their way from 'tent city' on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv towards the city's government buildings.
The protesters wore red shirts and beat with sticks on dumpsters.
Meanwhile police throughout the country struggled to quell illegal tent protests that have sprung up in various parks.
In Beersheba, officers dispersed protesters that had pitched tents before the city's municipality building.
Organizers of a protest in Netanya also complained that the municipality was attempting to evict them from their protest spot – in front of luxury towers in an upscale neighborhood. The protesters say they will not budge, despite inspectors handing out tickets to their supporters in vehicles.
In southern Tel Aviv, municipality inspectors arrived at a hub of tents at 4:30 am to hand out evacuation orders to the young people sleeping there, who complained of being woken up at such an early hour.
The orders posted on the 15 tents in Levinsky Park said, "Pitching a tent in a public park without a permit is against the law. By the authority vested in me by the mayor, I demand that you remove this tent immediately."
Yoni Yehezkel, one of the leaders of the protest in Levinsky Park, said the inspectors had warned protesters that if they did not clear out immediately police officers would disperse them by force.
But there was no move to clear the park. "The people don't need a permit," protesters cried out in response to the inspectors' demands.
Yehezkel sympathized with the inspectors, however. "They can't refuse to do their job or they will lose it," he said. "But we can tell they definitely identify with us, even if they don't say so."
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