Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/487/2423

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 May 2007

Israel: Students battle against fees and cutbacks

ISRAELI STUDENTS have taken to the streets in a battle against the government over rises in tuition fees, education cuts of up to NIS 1.2 billion ($215 million), and the privatisation of education.

Amnon Cohen

250,000 students have been on strike for over four weeks. Thousands have participated in demonstrations which, undeterred by the beatings of mounted police, have broken past police lines and blocked highways.

This strike comes at a time of unprecedented turmoil in Israeli society. The Winograd commission's report into last year's Lebanon War harshly criticised Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and defence minister Amir Peretz's conduct during the war, hammering their popularity ratings which were already at a mere 3%. 100,000 demonstrators called for Olmert's resignation on 3 May. Even Olmert's foreign minister called for him to resign.

The Israeli political elite is riven with scandal. President Moshe Katzav was forced to suspend himself from office as a result of the ongoing police investigation into multiple cases of sexual harassment and rape of female subordinates. Finance minister Avraham Hirschonson was forced to resign due to the ongoing investigation into embezzlement of millions of dollars from an organisation to commemorate holocaust victims and from the Histudruth (a social insurance and trade union federation).

Olmert himself is under investigation on multiple charges of corruption, including the purchase of his Jerusalem apartment for a fraction of its market value from a capitalist benefactor.

The rot at the top, together with the debacle of the Lebanon war, feeds a general feeling in society that the government are a band of criminals who are only looking after themselves, and that the only way to change things is through struggle.

Wave after wave of workers have gone on strike against the government's attempt to make them pay for the crisis. The postal contractors have take action for permanent status. Security guards have taken action against their appalling work conditions and for the right to organise.

Electricity workers are currently in a struggle against plans to privatise their company. Bus drivers recently took strike action for better work conditions. Council workers were at the centre of the recent general strike against non-payment of wages. Temporary workers at the airport took action to save their jobs and secondary school teachers are currently on strike.

The student strike is the result of pressure from below, as rank and file students rejected a sell-out agreed by the student union leadership following the previous strike in January.

Israeli Palestinian students have played an important role in the struggle alongside their Jewish classmates, in marked contrast to the racist incitement dominating the Israeli media.

The crisis of the Israeli political elite has led to a rapid radicalisation of the struggle which has quickly moved beyond its initial limited defensive aims of stopping fee increases.

Unlike the big student movement of 1998, there is no credible opposition party which can divert the movement into 'safe' channels. This radicalisation terrifies the Israeli ruling class.

Slogans

The liberal Haaretz newspaper published an editorial on 6 May condemning the strike and the students for "employing irrelevant, revolutionary slogans against 'capitalism,' 'privatisation' and 'capitalists', and also, of course, against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert".

Government attempts to diffuse the strike by postponing fee increases until after current students have graduated were rejected by student leaders under pressure from below. The leaders of the Beer Sheva students' union were forced to resign after they had made an agreement to end the strike with the university administration. The agreement was overturned by a demonstration of 500 students demanding no sell-out.

The university presidents have tried to break the strike by threatening to force any students who do not return to their studies to redo the entire term. The lecturers' unions have condemned these threats and come out in support of the students. The students responded by intensifying the strike, blockading campus entrances with chains and barbed wire.

Maavak Sozialisti (CWI, Israel) has members on five campuses and intervened in the main demonstrations. Our effect was far greater than our numbers with our slogan - "Free education for all" - enthusiastically taken up.

In the past our red shirts make us conspicuous on demonstrations. But in the student demos nearly everyone wears red! Israeli TV news covered our contingent on the May Day demonstration and carried a short interview with one of our activists.

This strike, which has now reached a critical juncture, marks a sharp escalation in the tempo of the struggle in Israel. Even if the strike begins to lose steam, its radicalising effect on students has laid the basis for a renewal of the campaign next term.

For more on the Israeli students' struggle see article Israel: The 'red revolution' for free education on CWI website socialistworld.net.


The 'Red Revolution'

ANOTHER MASSIVE student demonstration, with road-blocks on Mayday. Thirty-three arrested. Maavak Sozialisti members were among the most radical, combative section of the demonstration. This demonstration, like the others, lasted six hours but this time we had to climb into the hills to escape the baton charges of the cops. A lot of students said: "It's like what the Palestinians face in the territories."

Channel 1 TV, which is the state channel here, said on its evening news bulletin: "The students promise that what we see is only the beginning of the Red Revolution."

Eyal Atzei-Pri, Maavak Sozialisti and member of Seminar Ha'Kibbutzim College's strike committee

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 17 May 2007:

Good riddance to Blair!

Gillingham greets Gordon

Editorial: Blair's departure: Curtain falls on disastrous reign


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Partial climbdown encourages Maudsley fight back


International Socialist Resistance

Protest against the G8 Rostock 2007

Join ISR in a summer of protest!


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Conference for a working class political alternative


Global Warming

Who pays to stop climate change?


Ireland

The 'politics of smiles'

Irish election: An above average Joe


International socialist news

Israel: Students battle against fees and cutbacks

7.30, Tuesday 22 May, Kings Cross, London


Socialist Party election campaign

No gains for the BNP in Lincoln

Socialists take on the hospital crisis in Bristol

Baguley: Socialists are left opposition to New Labour


Socialist Party workplace news

Left victory in PCS elections

Postal workers: Vote 'yes' for strike action

FBU conference: Preparing for future battles


 

Home   |   The Socialist 17 May 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Fees:

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleMarch for free education! We demand a future!

triangleSocialist Students actions against uni fees on Budget Day

triangleWalk out against tuition fees on Budget Day!

triangleJoin the budget day protests!

Students:

triangleBrighton victory

triangleLiverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

Israel:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleThousands march in London for Palestine

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine

Education:

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2