The Big Submarine March
Appendix - Or-Ly Barlev and the Alternative Media
The nature of the protest movement
The protest movement is often criticized for not having a leadership, for being dispersed, fragmented, even chaotic. That said, these are also its strengths and its beauty.
In many ways, the movement reflects the nature of the Internet, rather than the nature of an institution like the Knesset. New groups form overnight, gather strength and followers. The next day they bring their agendas to the streets. Everybody works together, networking.
What I find incredibly inspiring is the openess, acceptance, tolerance that characterize the movement, not to mention the intergenerational camaraderie. Somehow in this environment everybody feels at home.
Marching in Jerusalem to commemorate 25 years for Prime Minister Rabin’s murder. Credit: Yonatan Mayer.
The missing politicians
It is notable that very few MKs and politicians speak on behalf of the protest movment, even from the opposition. Other than Miki Haimovich, a former journalist and TV anchor, and now an MK from the Hosen faction of Blue and White party, I haven’t gotten to see “official” politicians in the demonstrations until the Big Submarine March.
Reminder: the demonstrations started full force around March, although popular resistance against Netanyahu had been around for years. The Hemed Submarine March took place this November. And the politicians? Missing in action.
Wrong people in important places
Miki Haimovich, the only MK to have attended the protests regularly, should have been our Minister of the Environment. Due to the convoluted nature of Israeli politics, she ended up having a fake job – Vice Chairwoman of the Knesset and Chairperson of the Interior and Environment committee. It is typical in our places that the wrong person for the job is selected for mere political reasons. Such “arrangements” are called “combinas“.
The result of these “combinas” is that, typically, the perfect people for the job, who deeply care about the issues, are marginalized, while people sympathetic to the regime are elevated. In this particular case, we got the corrupt Gila Gamliel for Minister of Environment, while Haimovich, a very capable woman whose heart is invested in ecology, animal rights and the environment, has been delegated to doing “other things”, basically filling an empty niche with glamorous titles.
And speaking of the “environment” – Litter below, corruption above
Considering the above, it is no wonder the precious land of Israel is now littered with corona gloves and masks on top of the “normal, regular” garbage. Nobody in high places cares. Nobody moves a finger, except for caring citizens, who like me, take plastic bags and collect.
And speaking of the environment, there is, of course, the much “bigger” stuff, like the gas rig in the Meditteranean, the drying Dead Sea, the disappearing green areas, the toxic materials in the Haifa area and much more. All those issues are enveloped and submerged in corrupt motives.
Knock, knock, anybody there?
It is almost unbelievable how little the opposition parties make their presence known these days when the country is sinking faster than a submarine…
The entire task at hand is on us, the People.
The Big Submarine March – For a change, some presence of the opposition
Inflatable submarine carried by protesters at the beginning of the Big Submarine March from Hemed to Jerusalem, Nov. 14th. The submarines were soon to be attacked by fervent police officers and dumped to the side of the road.
In difference from previous events, there were several MKs present on the Big Submarine March. I happen to know Bogie Ya’alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense, in person, as I lived for several years on his Kibbutz, Grofit. Bogie is an honest, reliable, straightforward and capable man. I wish there were more like him in today’s disastrous Knesset.
Ofer Shelah, a well-known and aspiring MK from Yesh Atid party, was also marching along, as well as Eli Avidar, a rising star from Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
The amazing Or-Ly Barlev
But the most relevant and interesting persona on the march was the illustrious, spunky Or-Ly Barlev, “the” voice of the revolution, or as we like to call her, “the one-woman media channel”.
The amazing Barlev, a lady endowed with outstanding general and emotional intelligence, as well as amazing stamina, joins every protest and every march around the country, as long as they don’t co-incide with each other, of course. Even then, she sometimes manages to hop around and dance at two parties…
On one march, her long-suffering boots broke down. She continued, unabated, barefooted.
During the events, she broadcasts live on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, as she marches alongside the protesters.
Woman of the people
Or-Ly gives voice and color to the people of the revolution. She describes the events as they unfold, interviews old dedicated ladies and young impassioned guys, the so-called “leaders” of the revolution and relevant, involved politicians. At the end of each event, she gives an intelligent, fact-based summary and analysis and often adds background and some historical notes.
Her one-woman channel is supported by crowd funding.
On the march to Jersualem, I happened to be interviewed myself by Ms. Barlev, as well as see her interview MK Bogie Ya’alon, who was walking side by side with us.
Here is a link to her live show on Facebook, which also covers both these interviews.
Police attacking inflatable plastic submarines immediatlely following the onset of the Big Submarine March from Hemed Junction to Netanyahu’s Residence, about 12 km walk. The pink submarine was ususrped and dumped over the rails. You can also see the fight over the black submarine. Protesters did not give up, though. We snuck out of police grasp, and continued on to Jerusalem unabated despite two more blockages on the road. Against all odds, two submarines arrived well and sound at Balfour St. for the big demonstration. Several protesters were detained.
Breath of fresh air: no “balanced” reporting
Most importantly, Or-Ly does NOT adhere to the “balanced reporting” dictat, which makes truthful, honest depiction of events nearly impossible. On the whole, she undoubtedly takes the side of the protesters, unless there is a good reason not to, which is rare. None of the live broadcasts she films show on the main networks.
You come back home after a huge, monumental event, like the Cross-county submarine flotilla, turn on the TV only to find close to zero reporting about it. You see the media consistently underestimating the numbers of protesters. After all, “thousands” can mean anything from 2,000 to 999 thousands.
Following the brutal, unjustified and unlawful attack of police on the submarine installations carried by hand during the protest march from Hemed to Bibi’s Residence in Jerusalem, police made unjustified and unlawful arrests.
If it wasn’t for the networks and alternative media, the wider public would not be able to know what was happening on the marches and the demonstrations. Mainstream networks don’t show the arrests, the police brutality and stupidity, or the real size of the protests.
Niv, a reserve officer, handcuffed, bruised and led to custody. The Big Submarine March
Channels 12 and 13 work very hard to dig up episodes where a protester pushes a Netanyahu supporter. They usually don’t bother to show the preceding provocation. This is often followed by lengthy interviewes with police officers explaining the hardships of their job, or heart-wrenching talks with police wives. There is close to zero coverage of the real events unfolding, no photos of the mega demonstrations on Balfour, no photos from the air of the congregation around the square, no voice given to the demonstrators.
Many of us now vote the mainstream media with our feet.
Depite “balanced” reporting, violence is really one-sided
Personally, I have yet to see a case of protester violence. This is remarkable, since by now I have attended a considerable number of protests and demonstrations, and have seen multiple cases of unjustifies police violence. Other than that, the only aggressive encounters I saw involved Bibi fans. Specifically, in my neighborhood, a man driving through the junction saw our demonstration, halted his car in the middle of the square, walked out, pushed a protester standing on a traffic “island”, who fell on an elderly woman, who in turn fell on the ground and had to be evacuated.
When police cooperated, as in the marches in Haifa (October 27th, Nov 26th) and in Caesarea (November 21st ), there was zero violence.
Some words about alternative media
Or-Ly Barlev, Democrat TV, The Hottest Place in Hell, Shakuf, Orly and Guy , to name but a few, now provide the only reliable sources for following the news generally, and the Revolution, as we like to call it, in particular.
Most of these venues are financed independently by crowd funding. Many are run by first-class female journalists. The people operating them are often quality reporters who could not tolerate the party line now dominating the networks they used to work for. For example, Orly and Guy are a married couple, well-known across the country for hosting the morning show on Channel 13 (formerly channel 10). After quitting, they founded their own independent channel.
You can read more about the media in my post about the Cross Country Submarine Flotilla.
On my part, I am trying to do my little tiny bit to describe what I know and mostly what I see in person in English. All the above-mentioned media are in Hebrew.
Mainstream reporting about Israel in English is lacking in information about the protests, as it mostly follows on our own mainstream media. As I said, those tend to belittle and ignore the protests and their impact, following directions from above. I suspect some journalists might even feel scared to speak out their minds.
The wider world, in consequence, is only dimly aware of this amazing movement. CNN, for example, which broadcast the Hong Kong protests on a daily basis for months, did not dedicate any space in their news programs for the popular uprising in Israel.
I do my best to inform and allow people abroad to get a peek into these dramatic events in the little country from my own limited perspective. Additionally, I try to introduce the world to our many heroes and activists and to the general spirit of the “revolution”.
For more videos from this event and from other protests and demonstrations around Israel see my You Tube playlist: Wave of Demonstrations Israel
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