Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday night to demand social justice. The problem for participants: figuring out which demonstration to attend.
Social protest leaders — celebrating exactly one year since the first tent was pitched on the city’s Rothschild Boulevard — and the various organizations involved in the movement failed to agree on a location. As a result, one demonstration took place on Tel Aviv’s famed boardwalk, while the other, headed by Daphni Leef, took place in front of government buildings on Kaplan Street in the city’s financial district.
According to the movement’s official website (link in Hebrew), organizers of both protests share the same worldview, but efforts to combine Saturday’s events apparently failed due to elements within both camps that prevented a dialogue between the relevant parties.
A Facebook page called the boardwalk protest “March of the Million,” and that event had over 100,000 confirmed attendees as of Saturday afternoon. But at 9 PM, following expected confusion regarding venues, only about 100 people had gathered at the official starting point on Herbert Samuel Road, near the French embassy.
Five thousand people marched from the Habima Theater to Kaplan Street, reported Israel Radio. At 10 PM, there were approximately 10,000 protesters on Kaplan Street, according to police and event organizers. Among those present was Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud).
Several major roads throughout Tel Aviv were closed to traffic starting at 7 PM.
In Jerusalem, 1000 people gathered in the city center, many of them representing youth groups. 400 people marked the anniversary of the social protest movement in Haifa.
Additional demonstrations were held in Beersheba and the northern city of Afula.