Sleeping-Bag Protest Gains Steam (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 05/03/05)
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In a new form of anti-disengagement protest last night, well over
100 youths slept in city streets. They wished to demonstrate what
the government plans for thousands of people in the coming months.
"Unfortunately, the expulsion of thousands of families, with their
children, is about to happen in this country," one of the sleeping-
bag youths told Arutz-7. "They will be thrown out of their homes and
into the street. What we are doing is primarily an act of solidarity
with those who are so cruelly being evicted from their homes, their
lives that they have built over the past decades, and their
communities and jobs."
Shlomo, an articulate yeshiva student who is one of the organizers
of the initiative, said that dozens of youths slept out in each of
five cities - Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Petach Tikvah and Ramat
Gan. "In Tel Aviv, the police told us to take down some small tents
that we put up," he said, "but basically they were OK with us."
In downtown Jerusalem, the police did not allow the group of some 20-
25 young men to congregate together in one place. Instead, they
slept in groups of two and three all along Ben Yehuda St. and nearby
Jaffa Rd - and participants said that this turned out to be a more
effective arrangement. "More people saw us this way," one said. They
also posted signs near their sleeping bags, such as, "Jews Don´t
Banish Jews" and the like.
Shlomo told Arutz-7 that the goal is for other groups of people to
independently organize their own similar protests. "We´ve had calls
from Haifa, Raanana, a group called Youth of Canada, and all over,
by people who want to know how to set this up," he said. "This is
exactly what we hoped for - to start a whole movement of people who
feel that they are unable to sit at home and do nothing. People who
realize that it´s not just Gush Katif alone, but rather that ´defeat
begins with retreat,´ and that in the end, this is a struggle for
the entire country."
Asked what he hopes to attain via this form of protest, Shlomo
said, "I can tell you one thing: There are so many people who agree
with us, but have lost faith in the power of protest. If everyone
who believes that the disengagement is bad for Israel joins up with
us, then I am confident that we will have a major impact."
During the course of his conversation with Arutz-7, Shlomo found out
that plans had been finalized for a follow-up event tonight: "We
will gather outside the Disengagement Authority offices in Givat
Sha´ul, Jerusalem, at 7 PM this evening, and from there we will
disperse, with our sleeping bags and signs, to sleep out in
different parts of the city. The public is invited to participate."
(IsraelNationalNews © 05/03/05)
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