Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Big Weekend For Israel's Housing Protest

This Saturday evening, organizers are planning to hold one of the largest protest rallies in Israeli history. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in downtown Tel Aviv in a rally which will feature performances by music and television stars.

The protest has garnered significant attention as the first major protest following the terror attacks of August 18th in Eilat. If successful, the protest will be a critical demonstration of the persistence of the protest movement. This month, this persistence will face challenges as Israel navigates several foreign policy and security situations. Today, the UN report on the Gaza flotilla incident was leaked by the New York Times in a way which is likely to harm Israeli-Turkey relations in the short term. Later this month, the UN General Assembly will be voting on a Palestinian state. Egypt-Israel relations also remain a matter of some concern.

Protest organizers anticipate that the government will attempt to re-direct the Israeli narrative to these serious foreign policy and security issues. Saturday's protest will be an indication of whether the movement will be overshadowed by the multiple diplomatic crises Israel faces. The protests have shown the promise of sustained momentum. Whether this momentum can continue will depend largely on events in Israel 48 hours from now.

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