“With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half.” – Otto von Bismark, German Chancellor, 1871 -1890
July 10th found 10,000 protesters in Rabin Square angry over the delays in their promised coronavirus relief funding. Israel’s self-employed and small business owners seem to have found themselves at the end of the COVID-19 relief line and wanted to send Bibi a public message. Police had to break up the rally using pepper spray and even mounted police.
But that just poured the angry crowd out of the square where they began blocking streets. That is when the arrests began, with 19 going to jail for the evening and facing fines and court appearances to add to their financial troubles.
Unemployment is running at 21%, much more than in the US, with 850,000 Israelis out of work. Tel Aviv resident Ruti Arenfeld reported, “I’m here to call on the government to do what it has promised, to transfer the money to the private wage workers and small businesses,…you told them to close and they did that. Now it’s your turn to help them before it’s too late.”
While salaried workers were on semi-vacation and receiving unemployment, many others were left to spend down their savings and run up their charge cards. With the threat of looming new lockdowns, those who have yet to receive government assistance fear they will be ignored again, hence they have hit the streets.
“There is a very grave crisis of confidence between us and the government,” Shai Berman, one of the protest organizers, told Kan public radio earlier Saturday… “We are part of a large group of people which is feeling growing distress and wants to demonstrate, and simply does not believe the [government’s] promises.”
Rally turns into a big COVID-19 party
But the big rally of tightly packed demonstrators, while shouting and chanting all evening were raining COVID-19 droplets down from those infected all over the crowd for the whole event, making the Health Ministry rightly unhappy. Deputy minister Yoav Kisch called the protest a “health terror attack.”
That comment was followed by Health Minister Yuli Edleston’s filing a complaint against a doctor at Soroka hospital in Beersheba,