Leaders of the social protest movement and the movement for equality in sharing the burden of military and national service will join forces Saturday night in Tel Aviv for a major protest.
The merger of the two movements was announced at a press conference on Thursday night and comes on the heels of a week that saw both the expiration of the Tal Law — which for 10 years had granted exemptions from service for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students — with no replacement in sight, and the approval by the government of tax hikes and significant cuts in ministry budgets.
In recent weeks, the movements held separate demonstrations due to lack of consensus between organizers. Leaders of the movements expressed hope that their unification would draw thousands to the street on Saturday.
Stav Shaffir, one of the unofficial leaders of the social justice movement, said it was a natural step for the two causes to join forces.
“The time has come for an all out war,” she said. “We must stand up and show that we know how to join hands when necessary… to continue to fight in order to save this place, which we love so much.”
“This isn’t only a young people’s campaign,” said social activist Itzik Shmuli, chairman of the National Student Union. “It’s the campaign of everyone who bears the economic, social and defense burden — everyone who cares how this country will look in a few years.”
Boaz Nol, leader of the movement for equality in sharing the burden of service, said the activists organized the rally because “things have come to a head. This week proved that the government is cut off. Two great historic opportunities to make a real change were squandered by a prime minister who gives free lunches to his allies — lunches that we pay for.”
“Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu has managed to unite a lot of people from the left and right, religious and secular, men and women. All united for one purpose: to tell him we’ve had enough,” he added.
Saturday’s rally is scheduled for 8:30 PM in front of the Tel Aviv Museum.