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  • Writer's pictureWendy Yaniv - Founder / Group Leader

Lots of questions so sharing what you may NOT see on the news!

While I certainly have no crystal ball, maybe I can offer some information or perspective that you won't necessarily get from the English news.

If you know me or follow the 5 Senses® Tour, you know that I do my best to share an honest picture of Israel ... and I'm pretty straightforward about it! While I will stay away from the politics of the situation, I'll share some details about the protests in recent weeks as well as some beauty in these difficult times.

The protests are continuing and the determination to continue the fight for democracy is something scary and extraordinary at the same time. Having been part of one of the protests, toured with groups during this time as well as seeing it nightly on Israeli tv, it's truly watching history unfold in real-time. Unfortunately, it also seems to be a repeating theme worldwide.

Here are some photos from the last few weeks:

Tel Aviv

March from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Tent city along the way as it was a multi-day march

Food, music, and support before settling in for the night

This is the woman that started it all! A true Wonderwoman!

Meet Dr. Shikma Bressler! Never wanting to be in the public eye, this brilliant physicist has become the face of the protests. Living in a small town in northern Israel, this world-renowned particle physicist and mother of 5 daughters has emerged as a symbol of the struggle against the government’s divisive judicial overhaul. Having no interest in politics but plenty of drive time during her 155-mile daily round-trip commute (no, that was not a typo!) to her lab at the Weizman Institute, her concern grew exponentially as she listened to the news in her car. She became the first to go out and protest on her own with a sign that read: "DE-MO-CRA-TIA!" (DEMOCRACY)! Now the coined cry of the massive crowds, she is still there every step of the way and spearheaded the march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Her humility and brilliance have become a beacon of hope and determination for thousands throughout the country.

Quick facts about the protests:

  • They have been going on for approximately 7 months

  • Most have been peaceful with a few incidents lately between police and protestors

  • There was quite a bit of disruption with regard to traffic and at the airport, but that has lessened significantly

  • There are apps and websites that detail where the protests will be held and when, enabling people to avoid certain areas

  • This grass-roots effort (started by Shikma) has grown to tens of thousands of Israelis every week

  • A multi-day trek of thousands of protestors from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, during an intense heat wave, brought the protest to the Knesset door (Parliament) the day before the vote

  • The total distance of the march was 37 miles (in 95-degree heat), with participants marching in limited sections every day, mostly in the mornings and evenings due to the intense weather, and camping out in tents at night.

  • While the first law passed, the protests are not lessening

Now some "editorial comments:"

  • Israelis, unfortunately, have developed a life skill of not giving up! They fight for their security, their beliefs, and their freedom. They will NOT give up. As the Israeli saying goes "I have no other country."

  • One of the most unexpected situations that has arisen due to the fight taking place against the present government is that the highest level reserve units (airforce, intelligence, special forces) have chosen to make their voices heard by refusing to report to duty. This topic is complicated so I will not get into that one. Refer back to the previous bullet point ... Israelis DO NOT give up!

  • There is a lot of fear in the general population that the gov't will create a regime like Hungary. No one knows how this will actually play out but .... refer back to the previous 2 bullet points!

  • Interestingly enough, as is typical of Israelis, as they continue this unrelenting fight against these changes, they also continue living their life as normally as possible. They have had (too much) experience with wars so they have developed an ability to maintain "normalcy" in the most difficult of times. As they say, "We continue fighting for peace like there is no war and we fight our war like there is no peace." It's complicated but life continues and so do the protests.

The beauty in the storm ...

  • Israel is still the only country in the Middle East that the people CAN protest the government

  • Volunteers unable to take part in the walk brought support to those marching, literally, by the truckload! Trucks of donated food, water, and bbq grills. Meals were prepared by volunteers into the night, for all of those that camped out in the tent cities. This is just what they do!

  • Prior to protesters' arrival to Jerusalem, volunteers set up large shades around the Parliament as the temperatures soared to around 95F, kitchens were set up with huge surpluses of food, and an electric station for charging phones. All people organizing behind the scenes

  • Cars drove alongside the walkers handing out drinks, food, helping those that were not feeling, exchanging shoes for people, etc.

  • There is beauty to be had in the most difficult of times!

And I, the eternal optimist, have to believe that something "better" will grow out of these unprecedented trying times around the world. As we all know, often the worst of times create the greatest gifts!

Sunrise at Masada!

Resilience and Strength

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain"

-Dolly Parton-

Have a great weekend!

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