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A Personal Perspective on Israel’s Social Protests

37-year-old Israeli worries about her country’s future
By: Sharon Schwartzman
Published: September 6th, 2011 in News » Israel
Israeli protesters in Tel Aviv on July 30, 2011

For the past month and a half, I have hesitated to voice my opinion on the social protest in Israel. I have finally decided it is time to share my personal situation in order to help people understand the protest better:

I am 37 years old, I grew up in Israel and served my country for 3 years in the IDF. I have a B.A in Social Work and an M.A in Organizational Behavior and Development.

I have been working since I was 15 years old.

I pay all my taxes.

I managed to secure a stable, above-average income in a senior position.

For additional income purposes, I trained as a Pilates instructor and work 2 nights a week on top of my full time position.

And yet…

Other then my pension plan, I cannot dream about savings.

I drive a leased car.

I carry debt, mainly from my years of studies, which I cannot pay off.

I pay for additional health insurance as the minimum does not cover enough.

I rent a one bedroom apartment. Just my rent (before additional expenses such as electricity, water and taxes) is exactly 50% of my salary

Most importantly – I cannot dream about even putting a down payment on a one bedroom apartment.

Does this sound reasonable?

Until a month and a half ago, I thought I was a minority.

I thought that all people my age either had a higher salary or that their families were able to support them.

Now I know I am not alone, there are so many like me.

For years I have been trying to voice the challenges of the ‘new Israelis’, the ones who truly believe in this country and do not want to leave it, who think they are qualified, talented and worthy to stay here.

I was upset that we all became numb and apathetic to the situation and didn’t think we could do anything to change it. I was wrong.

I want to believe that this awakening of the social protest will create a gradual social change in Israel, the final results of which we might see in 5 years from now.

I think this is the last straw for many, many Israelis who are fed up with the situation. If this voice is not heard, all these people who have been in the tents and on the streets for the past few weeks will simply not be here in a few years.

What will happen to the State of Israel then?

Related articles: Israel, Protests, Tent City, Social Protest,
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