The "housing protest" brought an unknown number of Israelis to the streets Saturday night, but criticism of the seemingly spontaneous protest is growing. Kobi Arieli, one of the most prominent religious journalists in Israel's mainstream media, published a scathing critique of the protests on his Facebook page – most likely because no newspaper would carry it.
Some of Arieli's points:
"There is no social protest. The protest is a Ynet protest. It exists in Yediot Aharonot, Ynet and Channel 2 news -- three totalitarian media outlets that shamelessly host it and provide it with life, day after day, week after week. Take the media out of the protest – and there is no protest… The entire media has been enlisted to its own tribal party and has managed to White Tri
"Why then, is there a feeling that a huge and historic protest is flooding the land and its very foundations are moving? Because Ynet says so. Morning after morning. Hour after hour. Propaganda tends to work, and this one certainly does.
"The present government… is not to blame for anything. It is stable, strong and has a well thought out economic agenda. One does not need to agree with its world view, but we should be proud that this is one of the only [Israeli] governments that has an ordered fiscal outlook. So why did the fools sing [songs of derision against Netanyahu]? Because they are fools.
"Additional targets of the 'protest' are the 'parasitical' sectors that contribute nothing and which the middle class has to carry on its back… There are four such sectors, if I understand correctly: hareidis, Arabs, settlers and poor people. You will never hear about two of these: not about poor people, because it is not nice to attack poor people, and not about Arabs, because this contradicts another of the Tribe's principles – the Tribe is supposed to like Arabs (originally, the White Tribe is 'leftist'). Therefore you will only hear complaints about settlers and hareidis.
"The argument that says 'it's all the settlers' fault' is a political argument and therefore not valid… Political arguments are decided at the ballot box. Surprise: it was decided at the ballot box. Next.
"The argument 'it's all the hareidis' fault' is indeed an old and well-known one, but it suffers from two problems: A) the hareidis are also poor! OK, but they are poor by choice, say the opponents. This makes the argument political again. B) The criticism of hareidis and their budgets is tainted with much exaggeration and seething hatred.
"The tycoons. What is the sin of the rich? That they are rich… Can we take money from them and give it to the middle classes? There is no need, because the middle class is alive and well. Can we take their money and give it to the poor? Of course we can. Josef Stalin and Lazar Kaganovich would be glad to tell us how it is done.
"I am ashamed of the terrible place the media has come to, these days. No, I did not expect any better of it. I have despised it for years because I have known it for years… And I am proud of my good friends, who will not be named, most of whom are media people, all of whom, I find, share my feeling of nausea and frustration and helplessness.
"Therefore I oppose this protest and feel deep contempt for it."