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Dec 28, 2011

The Hafgana Of People Who Care

I have been to many hafganot over the course of my 21+ years in Israel. I have been to just about every type of hafgana that there has been, sponsored by just about every different type of sectors that exist. Not every single type, but a lot. Whether it was ultra-haredi riots over grave diggings and closing Bar Ilan street in jerusalem, or be it nationalist hafganot against giving land away to palestinians or other political moves, be it regular haredi protests against different issues (public shabbos observance by the State, anti-haredi whatever, etc), be it Kach protests against who knows what, be it left-wing protests against the State being too right wing, protests encouraging peace negotiations.. I have seen a lot of protests in my time here, and that includes that last 5 or 6 years in which I have basically stopped going to protests (2 rare exceptions were both Bet Shemesh related issues).

The one common denominator among all the various protests and protesters, and this is the reason I always had a great time at these protests no matter what was happening (even when they got violent or when the police got violent), is that I was standing out there with my brothers and sisters who cared about the issue at hand. Whatever the issue was at any given time, it was important enough to these people, not always to me - I sometimes went not because of my solidarity with the cause but sometimes for other reasons, to get them out of their regular routine and come out to make themselves heard. Everybody has something better to do, some other way they would rather be spending their time. Yet the cause at hand brought out people who cared enough to try to improve life in Eretz Yisrael. That is a great manifestation of the mitzva of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael.

Yesterday was no exception. I was standing out there in what was not really such a great hafgana. It was not organized well. There was a mish-mash of agendas and goals. There did not seem to be any concrete target of the energy. A number of speeches that were mostly pointless. A lot of people came, but there was a lot of milling around with no unified direction. The best part of it was being out there with 5000 or so people (this number was given as the official police estimate) who cared enough to leave their regular routines and spend a few hours trying to make life in Eretz Yisrael better.

Whether the hafgana will turn into a success or not, I don't know. I don't know what would make it so. On the other hand it might already be so, as it pressured the mayor to hold a press conference shortly before the hafgana in which he condemned the extremists and their violence and called on the police to act strongly against them, as well as saying he is going to do what he can to chase them out of town. I don't know if he will actually do anything or if he will just try to bide his time until the media finds another juicy topic and the pressure dies down. The fact that he already had to change his tune is the start of the change.


  1. How come in a hafgana defined as not political Tzipi Livni and Sheli Yechimovitch were allowed to speak? Also, the guy from the tent protest in Tel Aviv during the summer.
    I was moved however to know that so many people cared from outside Beit Shemesh came to show they cared. The chareidim also do this as well, and I think the thugs themselves may come from Mea Shearim.

  2. I dont know. I left before they spoke. I understood they wouldnt be speaking, but maybe the organizers couldnt say no once they were there and asked or expected to speak.. I consider that one of the failings....

  3. Don't hold your breath on change from the mayor. He ALWAYS says what he needs to to the national media and does a totally different thing here at home.

  4. you forgot to mention that this time as well, you were there literally with one of your brothers, not just figuratively.


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