Protest in Haifa
Protest in Haifa Channel 1 screenshot

Large scale protests / pop concerts dominated by secular Israelis are being held in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem and will include free performances by well known artists. The protesters demand "social justice" and a more equitable economy but their exact demands are not clear.  

According to an investigative report by Maariv's Kalman Libeskind, the protests were engineered by a group of media strategists who are directed by prominent Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others. Greenberg directed the strategists to create a protest that was not led by one specific group, in order to create social ferment. An unnamed left-wing leader would eventually step into this ferment and take the reins, Greenberg predicted. 

The Israeli strategists reportedly include Boaz Gaon, Moshe Gaon and Eldad Yaniv, who worked in Ehud Barak's successful race for Prime Minister in 1999, also in cooperation with Greenberg. 

Press reports at around 10:00 p.m. Saturday evening estimated the total number of protesters at anywhere between 100,000 and 400,000. This would be the rough equivalent of the number of people represented by three to thirteen seats in the Knesset.

The protesters are mostly secular people and the participation of nationalists in the summer-long protest wave has gradually lessened, as details emerge of left-wing involvement in their organization. In Jerusalem, Channel 2 reporter Dafna Liel said most of the protesters are secular people. Liel's mother, Rachel Liel, is Director of the New Israel Fund, which has assisted the protests.

Israel's central television and internet news outlets provided live superlative-studded coverage of the protests, as they have throughout the summer. Central Channel 2 political commentator Amnon Abramovich said that the protest is against policies that favor hareidis and settlers.

The protests have been held all summer long on Saturday nights and are part demonstrations, part free live concerts. Performers in Tel Aviv Saturday night were to include popular bands like HaYehudim, Hadag Nachash and singer Eyal Golan.

Tent cities that have been put up in Tel Aviv and other cities are likely to be folded up soon as summer vacation ends and cooler weather approaches.

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