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How Goodly Are Your Tents, O Tel Aviv? A Symposium


Designated by TIME magazine as the Person of the Year, the Protestor has certainly made his/her mark on the streets of many continents. Some of these award-winning protestors have toppled well-entrenched dictatorial regimes. Their counterparts in democratic countries, however, have had necessarily less clear goals and accomplishments. Overshadowed by the more earth-shaking or at least highly publicized events elsewhere, the "Tent City Protests" that began in Tel Aviv last summer have been forgotten by many outside of Israel. Nonetheless, they were extraordinary both in size-on September 3 as many as 450,000 marched throughout Israel-and civility. Perhaps inevitably, they produced a blue-ribbon commission, led by Manuel Trajtenberg, which has made a series of interesting proposals.

     More importantly, the protests have had an impact on the thinking of many Israelis, especially but not exclusively, young ones. We thought that it would be useful to listen to what some thoughtful and involved Israelis are saying about what they saw or did last summer in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Some of them, like historian Orit Rozin, see the present in the light of the past. Others, like Lili Ben-Ami and Omer Moav, are focused more single-mindedly on the future. Certainly, they do not all agree on matters of policy. However, there is general agreement that something significant happened in the protests several months ago and that we have yet to see their full implications. —The Editors

How The Protests Began

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