WATCH: The housing protest – a new national identity?

A sound and slideshow by Eyal Warshavsky, with national anthem Hatikva as the crescendo, illustrates the powerful sense of a shared national cause emerging from the demonstration last Saturday night.

What began as an outcry over high housing prices is taking on ever-larger dimensions, and Israelis of all stripes have rallied to the cause of economic injustice surrounding a range of issues. In the past, wars and security issues have always been the greatest unifying factor of Israeli identity, but there is a powerful bond forming around the protests that could perhaps even transcend left and right. At the 20,000-or more  demonstration last Saturday night, illustrated in Eyal Warshavsky’s sound and slideshow, Israeli flags were prominent, the ubiquitous and repeated rallying cry was “The people want social justice!” and the crowd sang a rousing Hatikva.


Proof of emerging unity was evident this morning in numbers: in a Haaretz survey, when asked if the protest was about genuine distress, or a political stunt to topple the government, 81% said the protests are about real economic woes – and a near-consensus of 87% support the efforts. Is Israel witnessing a shift in the defining national identity that unites its people? Could the economic and social vision of the people become a more inclusive national narrative than the military/security dimension ever was?