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  • September 7, 2011

    Daphne Leef’s speech to protestors on Sept 3/11

    Daphne Leef is the person who first pitched her tent to protest high rent and then caused her protest to be supported by ever increasing numbers until it became the largest Israeli protest ever and was supported by over 95% of Israelis. So who is she?

    In September 2002 Leef signed a public letter along with dozens of other pre-army-aged youths which declared their refusal to serve in the “army of occupation”. She never did serve in the IDF. When she started this protest she was living in a pricy neighborhood of Tel Aviv. She also worked for the NIF.

    She is not the first middle class Israel who supported left wing causes. That doesn’t diminish the fact that a very high percentage of Israel agree that something must be done.

    This is a rush translation of the speech Daphne Leef gave at Kikar HaMedina – The State Square – at the 300,000-strong (so they say) demonstration on Saturday night.

    I for one do not attack her or the movement because it is left wing, or because it is organized by American Democrats or is really a political protest or because the NIF is supporting it. For me it is all about a legitimate grievance and should be done about it.

    Daphne Leef’s speech September 3rd 2011

    Something massive, something huge happened this summer. Summer 2011 is the big summer of the new Israeli hope. This hope was born, like many hopes, out of a feeling of despair, alienation, inequalities that became impossible for all of us, inequalities that almost became impossible to overcome.

    The Israeli society that stands here – and also, it’s important to note, also the Israeli society that chose to stay home this evening – reached its red line. And then it stood up and said: Enough! No more! You can cheat some of the people some of the time, but you can’t cheat everyone all the time. This summer we woke up and refused to keep walking with our eyes shut towards the abyss.

    We are choosing to live. We are not invisible. If they only understand numbers, let us remind them that there are more than 7 million people here, and every one of these people has a heart. There was a sign on Rothschild that said: “Every heart is a revolutionary cell.” It’s true. Every one of us is the protest headquarters of one person.

    This summer was a wonderful obstacle course. What hurdles didn’t they put before us? What didn’t they say about us? How they tried to break us up. The first thing they said about us was: spoiled brats. Sushi and nargilas. From this we learned that the automatic response of the publicly elected is to give no respect to our actions. Their first priority was to say – it’s nothing, zero, just a group of kids. At that point there was only the tent camp on Rothschild Boulevard. They called us vague and deluded. The result: tent camps began to be set up throughout the country. They had no choice but to understand that this was something bigger, something of our own.

    My generation grew up with the feeling that we were alone in the world. It’s us versus the TV screen. That the other is our enemy, that he is our competitor. We grew up with the feeling that we are in living in a race we have no chance of winning, that we mustn’t rely on anyone else. They taught us that it’s either you or him. That’s capitalism – unending competition. The fact that this generation – the loneliest and most withdrawn generation – stood up and did something is nothing short of a miracle. The miracle of the summer of 2011. There you have it – everything that we thought, all they taught us – was wrong! What happened here was exactly what needed to happen.

    We were closed up each of us in his own cycle, a cycle of dissatisfaction, in a feeling of absurdity. And suddenly we began to talk, and more importantly: We began to listen.

    So they called us the extreme left. They tried to define us. How on earth do they know who I am? How do they know who you are? Where do they get the chutzpah? The best answer to their assertions came not from me or from my friends, it came from the tent camps that sprang up in the Hatikva neighborhood, in Jesse Cohen, in Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Shmona, Modiin, Rahat, Kalansawa, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bet Shean, Yerucham, and in tens of other places. All of us, the whole country, realized that there is no right or left – we are all servants/we all serve.

    They told us – go to the periphery towns. What a terrible and condescending thing to say. What is that – “go to the periphery”? It’s something you say as if – there, there are no people. That there is a wasteland. Silence. And you know what? How lucky it is that they sent us to the periphery. Because we discovered there what we already knew – that this country is full of beating hearts. I went there and found friends for life.

    And anyway – what is that – “go to the periphery”? The State of Israel screwed over and continues to screw over its periphery systematically and methodically from the moment it was established. In education, health, infrastructure, housing, welfare, culture – to say “go to the periphery” is unprecedented hypocrisy. To talk of ‘periphery’ is to perpetuate the old discourse that cuts out human beings, that tells them: You are put aside. You are remote. Your needs are less important and your demands are worth less. This summer we proved to everyone that there is no such thing as periphery – we are all central! Every single one of us! We reduced the physical distance between us and we found out that it’s good that way, that we want to remain close. That they will no longer manage to distance us and to divide us.

    And then came the security escalation. But even the missiles that fell did not ruin this protest. The opposite – they showed how strong and true it is. The fact that we didn’t fold then was, I’ve already said this, the most moving aspect of this protest. The time has come for the concept “Security Situation” to stop being a value and return to being what it is – a situation. And a situation that must change.

    Missiles fell, and we were silent for a few days. We marched in silence. And then what did they say? They said that the protest was fading out. Instead of recognizing that it pained us that a million Israelis were living under the threat of missiles, that we were hurting for the people injured, killed, and whose houses were ruined. But instead of appreciating that we were with them, instead of seeing how our silence came from love, they said “the protest is fading out”. They tried to turn our solidarity into retreat.

    The truth is, it was sad. How on earth does the government of Israel dare to make such an attempt at divide and rule? A government that abandoned its residents; that abandoned its elderly, its sick, its immigrants, its weak. How can it now come to us with such an assertion? Israeli governments have divided us for years, and when finally we come together, when we showed that we are not willing to carry on sitting in front of the TV, they said that we are not showing solidarity. We don’t show solidarity? Look at what’s going on here!

    When they talk about security they come to protect human lives – how does that line up with the Israeli government’s policy of recklessness?

    I’m 25 years old. What are my biggest memories of this country: the 2nd Lebanon War, the period of terrorism, friends who were killed then, the assassination of Rabin, Gilad Shalit. And that’s even without going into that I’m 3rd generation Holocaust survivor. This was my consciousness. Moments and memories laced with death, loss, pain, fear, and the feeling that everything is temporary.

    At the demonstration in Afula I saw a sign: “For 31 days I have been proud to be Israeli”. I stand before you and I am now proud to be an Israeli for 7 weeks. I feel we are together building here our self-worth as a society. To say “I deserve” means that someone else also deserves, that we deserve. This summer brought with it many good moments and memories – of hope, of change, fraternity, listening.

    A discourse of life has been created. It’s the most important awakening there has been here. We are not here just to survive, we are here in order to live. We are not here just because we have nowhere else. We are here because we want to be here. We choose to be here, we choose to be in a good place, in a just society, we want to live in society as a society – not as a collection of lonely individuals who each sit in front of one box, the TV, and once every four years put a slip in another box – the polling box.

    We are here, not because we have no other land. We are here because this is the land we want. Without our even noticing, people have begun to return from abroad, suddenly there’s a feeling that something’s happening here that mustn’t be missed.

    We’ve created a new discourse here. This is the new discourse: We’ve replaced the word pity with the word compassion. We’ve replace the word charity with the word justice. We’ve replaced the word donation with the word welfare. We’ve replaced the word consumer with the word citizen. We’ve replaced the verb ‘to wait’ with the verb ‘to change’. We’ve replaced the word alone with the word together. This is the greatest thing that we’ve done this summer. I don’t know about you, friends, but it’s already irreversible. We’ll not agree to go backwards! We are striding forwards, to a better future, to a more just country. Social Justice!

    We’re all of us imprisoned somehow in our social status, in our neighborhoods, in our religion, our gender. And then I realized that we’re not imprisoned – it’s that we’re imprisoning us! We all have an overdraft, but the overdraft is in the interest of the banks, it’s in the interest of the entire financial system of the state. They want to keep us constantly at a certain level of distress. Because where there is distress there is no hope, and where there is no hope there is no chance of change, and where there is no chance for change there is nothing to live for. But this summer, day after day, week after week, we went out to the streets and clarified not just to the government, but also to ourselves, that there is something to live for! The moment we realized this, the moment we began to think about a shared tomorrow, we all set out to freedom!

    What will tomorrow bring? We’re all asking what tomorrow will bring. What will happen to the tents, what is happening with the protest, where next and what to do and all that. All this demand for the fateful day, for the victory photo, for the decisive moment – there’s no such thing, my friends. Was there one fateful day when the social gaps became unbearable? Did swinish capitalism mark a particular moment of victory? Can we put our finger on that one privatization too many? There was no such moment. There was a process. Likewise now there is no moment – there’s a process. This process of ours is just beginning now. We have demands of the government and its head because things must change.

    If you are a resident of Yerucham – things must change.

    If you are a child whose parents have no money to pay for your school trip – things must change.

    If you are a pensioner or holocaust survivor – things must change

    If you are a Gaza evacuee – things must change

    If you are Bedouin – things must change.

    40% of us are defined as “financially fragile”. That means that 40% of us can’t cope with an unexpected outlay: dental care for the kid, a burst drain, injury. We are all living on the edge, by the skin of our teeth, pushed to take out another loan, to need more, to save less. Our lives have become a financial war of survival, while the state abandoned our pensions to games on the stock market, and privatized more and more of the basic services.

    You know what’s the worst phrase? The small citizen. There are laws against insulting a public servant, but there are no laws against insulting the citizens. And they’ve insulted us enough over the past few years. They’ve pushed us towards poverty, played with us, split us from each other. Don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when they laugh at me, and I don’t like it when they play me along.

    The citizen is not small! The citizen is the largest there is! To be a citizen, a large citizen, and to understand this, is the greatest challenge that stands before us. The demands of this protest are exactly based on the understanding that we are not willing to be small citizens any more, consumers, we are not willing to be a target audience any more, just a sector, just a tenth. We will no longer hole up in our tiny bunkers and wage our war of existence alone.

    That era is over.

    From now on something new: From now on we are together. We demand change, and we demand to be part of that change.

    We have begun a new discourse, a discourse of hope, of sharing, of solidarity and responsibility. I want to ask the Prime Minister, to ask all the politicians: Look at what happened here, at what is happening here – is this what you want to defeat? Is this something you are able to defeat? You are the People’s representatives. Listen to the People. This protest, that gave so much hope to many people – do you want to break this hope? Is that what you want? To melt down the hope? You will never succeed!

    And after we jumped all the hurdles and all the spin didn’t succeed, what did they have left? To attack me. This thing started with one person who did something. I set up my tent on Rothschild out of a personal feeling of to be or not to be. A person very close to my heart, Alex, put an end to his life. He was a poet. He wrote that even if you have a heart of gold, you will not manage to change the world. Two months before all this started up, he couldn’t be here any longer, and he chose not to be.

    How can a person like that, a dreamer and an idealist, feel that he no longer has a place in this world? If he has no place in this world then I suppose I have no place here either. And my heart hurt. My heart was broken. What kind of a world is it that has no room for dreamers, idealists, poets? What kind of world cuts them out? A world of poverty. Because all of us are dreamers and we all have the right to dream. To be poor isn’t only not managing to make it to the end of the financial month or to be homeless. To be poor is to be troubled by these things, fundamentally, to such an extent that you are not able to dream, to think, to learn, to hug your children.

    So I started this thing. But just because I started it doesn’t mean it’s mine only. It’s not just my story, it’s the story of many people who stood up and started walking, stood up and began to do something. We all decided to be. We decided to be here. Here we are.

    This summer we learned that we all of us have a place. That tomorrow will be what we make of it. We don’t need them to define us, we know full well who we are. And after this summer we know that it’s okay to dream. More than that. We understood that we must dream! To dream is to be.

    7 weeks ago I was a 25 year-old who was struggling alone with her private dreams – to make movies. In the past week I’ve been attacked from all sides, and they almost managed to make me feel alone again. Don’t know about you, but I’ve just started my protest…

    I’ll be here as long as necessary. I want to show Alex that yes, you can change the world, that everyone can. You only need to believe, get up, and do something. The responsibility is on each and every one of us. To stand up and move and talk and do and not give up.

    In taking to the streets, we found home!

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 11:36 pm | 16 Comments »

    16 Comments to Daphne Leef’s speech to protestors on Sept 3/11

    1. Nigel Shaw says:

      Daphne has defined the problem, yet hasn’t discovered the solution yet.
      Surely unrestrained capitalism and the necessary defence budget has brough about this situation, although the solution is not socialism. it is something more wonderful.
      The solution is to press for an economy and lifestyle that reflect Torah-values.
      To achieve this, Israel needs to detatch itself from the global financial debt trap, becoming more self-sufficient, creating more employment, instead of importing.
      The land is the inheritance of the Jewish people, not the government and must be allotted accordingly.
      This can be achieved easily and in a spirit of joyful co-operation.
      Free public services are essential, and is what every Israeli should receive.
      Through our happy example, we shall be a light to the nations.

    2. Laura says:

      I for one do not attack her or the movement because it is left wing, or because it is organized by American Democrats or is really a political protest or because the NIF is supporting it.

      I do.

      In September 2002 Leef signed a public letter along with dozens of other pre-army-aged youths which declared their refusal to serve in the “army of occupation”. She never did serve in the IDF. When she started this protest she was living in a pricy neighborhood of Tel Aviv. She also worked for the NIF.

      All of this makes her cause illegitimate. I don’t know how Israelis can support her. She is a typical spoiled, affluent leftist brat. She and her ilk are not so concerned about the cost of housing as they are in using the situation as an excuse to further socialize Israel. There’s a simple solution to reducing housing costs and that is to build more housing. But of course these are the same people who oppose building in Judea and Samaria and even eastern Jerusalem. That fact alone makes their cause fraudulent.

    3. Laura says:

      or because it is organized by American Democrats

      Ted, if Glenn Beck shouldn’t comment on domestic Israeli matters, then why is it ok for American Democrats even if they are Jewish, to be directly involved in domestic Israeli matters?

    4. HCQ says:

      Nigel Shaw Said:

      To achieve this, Israel needs to detatch itself from the global financial debt trap, becoming more self-sufficient, creating more employment, instead of importing.

      This would mean manufacturing ALL of your own warcraft instead of buying it from the U.S. at exorbitant prices. Manufacture, manufacture, manufacture in order to supply your nation with all of its own needs and to eliminate dependency on other nations. Export, Export, Export!
      Nationalize the shekel(but not your banks). Nationalize any gas or oil finds. A right wing, jewish nationalist free market Israel is the way to go.

    5. charlie says:

      Laura Said:

      or because it is organized by American Democrats
      Ted, if Glenn Beck shouldn’t comment on domestic Israeli matters, then why is it ok for American Democrats even if they are Jewish, to be directly involved in domestic Israeli matters?

      Laura, cause they have too much of the wrong type of power. Why are you and the democrat Jews in the US of A? Allen West, when he becomes President will help all Jews move to Israel. He is pro Israel and we need an Evangelical Christian President. Your place is in Israel. Not in the US of A. If you were in Israel, we would not have these problems. If you don’t want to go, don’t blame Allen West and the US of A for invading Israel and declaring it ours. Christian Israel.

    6. Laura says:

      Why are you and the democrat Jews in the US of A?

      I’m not a democrat.

      If you were in Israel, we would not have these problems.

      I’m not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean if Jews were in Israel, America wouldn’t be having problems or do you mean if American Jews were in Israel, Israel wouldn’t be having these problems? In any case, it sounds like you just want to remove Jews from America.

    7. David Smith says:

      @ Nigel Shaw:

      HEAR, HEAR!

    8. Lea de Lange says:

      The young woman Daphne Leef has really not made much of a favorable impression on Israeli’s outside the extreme leftwing. And one only needs to look at the Israeli Parliament to see that hardly anything is left of The Left.
      Daphne is working for the New Israel Fund, that is not a New Fund for Israel, no it is a Fund for a New Israel. One of those endeavours to change the Jews, to make them different, less Jewish.
      She is a very pretty girl and that must have been a reason she was put on the stage. She sounded very mixed up, demanding several contradicting things, changing her demands, and if really hundreds of thousands of Israeli’s went to the demonstrations than this had nothing to do with Daphne. It had to do with the high cost of living, the hardship, the scarcity of affordable housing. Which is a direct results of the destructive work of Daphne and her croonies from “Peace Now” who go on attacking Jewish housing where-ever they can. It is BECAUSE of them that there are not enough homes in Israel. Right now they are tearing down another village in Judea, called Migron, a beautiful place.
      Every revolution needs many useful idiots and Daphne is one of those, even the good people who want better living conditions belong to this category , they are in fact working for something they do not want at all, the NIF. And who will never help provide housing, just the opposite.
      Many of the demonstrators are the same anarchists who fight weekly against Israeli soldiers garding this barrier to keep murderers out of Jewish settlements. Nice constructive people but it were a whole lot better if they started constructing homes for the homeless.

    9. David Barrett says:

      Basically I agree with Nigel and Laura
      Leef may be vocal and TV charismatic , mentioning all the things we know do need our attention,but she cannot be allowed to represent the left
      We have an elected Govt – let the Left join in and contribute from within-
      She avoided the IDF [ and I wonder how!?] and promoted an NIF American controlled demo meant to upset BB
      How was she chosen?
      BB did not fall for it
      So now we have T Commission and I have no doubt that whatever is recommended will be no good in the eyes of the wealthy left
      The pot is only so big and we still have to commit our finances to our armed forces [ who IMO will be needed soon]

      Secondly why is it that the govt must do do do?
      How about some action from the complainants
      Give up your fancy expensive phones; stop buying expensive TVS etc Give up your smokes and less night clubbing ? Who says you have to run a car?
      The real people in trouble are the few left after the tidy up – open up a couple of caravan parks like we did for thew Ethiopians
      It was a nice way to pass the summer ; summer is over
      Lets return to the real life

    10. Yosher Co'ach says:

      Daphne Leef = Rebel Without a Clue

    11. Yuliya says:

      @ Laura:
      Laura! I’m with you 100%!

    12. opensoc says:

      It had to do with the high cost of living, the hardship, the scarcity of affordable housing.


    13. Tabitha Korol says:

      As Geert Wilders pointed out in Germany, March, 2011, in order to conquer our enemy, we must recognize who they are. He won the case FOR Freedom of Speech and against Islamization of the Netherlands. We must understand our enemy in order to recognize what’s going on. This woman is not merely a child of the “left,” or one who believes she has entitlements heretofore not given her, this is a product of the NIF, which, more to the point, is an organization formed and supported by George Soros. It doesn’t get worse than that. The NIF has already declared that they would not care if Israel no longer existed; for an Israel to say it, that’s anarchy, sedition, it’s close to being treason. Leef is enough of a rabblerouser to be dangerous to Israel, particularly when Israel is fighting for her very survival…and that’s just what the ilk of George Soros wants: to spread Israel so thin, with so many excruciating matters to handle, that Israel will be at a more serious disadvantage. If Leef is a citizen, and if she’s unhappy with life in Israel, then at the very least, she should be offered a plane ticket elsewhere… perhaps elsewhere in the Middle East. She is more than Left, she is a dangerous entity to be reckoned with.

    14. Lea de Lange says:

      Leef is no doubt not an Israeli patriot, she represents may be the worst that country brought forth in it’s youth. But dangerous? I would not call her dangerous. The most harm she did was to her own image, was not being able to prevent exposure of what and whom she really represents. Destruction of the country of Israel. But she will not be able to deliver. All she has is a pretty face and even there what’s inside shows more and more frequently.

    15. glenda urmacher says:

      I see 2 problems in Israel
      1.When you go to war because your citizens and country are attacked, and you loose your sons and daughters winning that war, and gains in land are non negotiable forever and become a part of greater Israel, AND YOUR EXPELL OR KILL THE POPULATION THERE, and resettle the land with your population.
      Only when your enemies know that they will never get their lost lands back will there be peace.; Every war means that when Israel wins, you loose your land, and the population therein has to be absorbed by the surrounding countries..
      So, no more peace with Egypt. Take back the Sinai, expell the population completely. Sinai was given in exchange for peace, no peace , no Sinai, minus the population.
      Gaza explodes rockets to Israel, Flatten Gaza. destroy its population and take back Gaza.
      2. Remove from the Religious in Israel, the right to dispense educational dollars to schools..This is a conflict of interest as they support with everyone’s tax dollars, their own schools.
      You want dollars to support your religious schools, GO TO WORK AND SUPPORT THEM, AND YOUR CHILDREN AS WELL.
      Tax dollars should go to the schools that educate all the population.
      And the 20% Muslim should be encouraged to leave Israel for Muslim countries.
      There should be as many Muslims in Israel as there are Jews and Christians in Muslim countries.

    16. Lea de Lange says:

      Glenda, do you think that Israeli’s do not know all of that? Do you really not know that Israeli’s do NOT want to give their country to the Arabs? But, dear Glenda, the measures you mention are not for a citizen to be taken. Those are measures only a government decides upon.

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