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The Big Submarine March & Israel’s Politicized Police

The Big Submarine March & Israel’s Politicized Police

The Big Submarine March

And Israel's Politicized Police

“Big Submarine March” might take a little while to load due to the abundance of videos. Please be patient. My sincere apologies.

The Submarine Scandal in a Few Words

Netanyahu in deep water: Everything you need to know about the submarines scandal - Israel News - Haaretz.comSource: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/EXT.premium.EXT-INTERACTIVE-timeline-how-israel-s-submarine-affair-has-pestered-netanyahu-1.7045277

The Submarine scandal, in which Binyamin Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, is suspected of high corruption, and perhaps even high treason, is known as Case 3000. The scandal has been buried, pushed to the side, and its investigation halted. People trying to bring it back to the foreground were blackmailed, threatened and marginalized.

For more details on the topic I am referring you to the excellent in-depth investigation series by the non profit highly-respected Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) (in Hebrew).

Literature in English is somewhat scanty. However, Ha’aretz daily published several good articles on the topic, among which,The Worst National Security Scnadal in Israeli Historyand an easy-to-follow Power Point presentation, Netanyahu in Deep Waters – Everything you need to know about the Submarine Scandal.

Keep an eye on the news. We, protesters, have succeeded to bring the topic to the front of the agenda, and that will eventually reflect in the English media as well.

You can find a bit more about the case also in my post: Cross-Country Submarine Flotilla and the Missing Media.

The Big Submarine March - Getting Ready

Submarines – the second generation

The Big Submarine March of November 14th followed on the  First Submarine Flotilla event I described in a separate post, which took place a month earlier on October 14th. Another flotilla is planned for this coming weekend, Novmeber 28th. Submarine dummies are now ubiquitiously used to remind our prime minister of things he’d rather shove under the carpet.

The hiking route spanned close to 12 km with the submarines having to be carried by hand. Whereas the first generation subs were mostly heavy agricultural-containers-turned-submarines hoisted and installed on vehicles, the incredible creativity of the revolution invented, designed and introduced the inflatable lighter rubber submarine baloons for marches and demonstrations. 

Inflating the submarine balloon on Hemed BridgeInflating a “submarine” on the Hemed Bridge, overlooking Road 1

In this particular event, three large baloons, two blacks, one pink, were shipped over to Hemed Bridge, which overlooks Road #1 – the main artery connecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s main hub, and Jerusalem, the capital. The baloons were inflated on the spot, while a lovely crowd of families and dedicated protesters of all ages was gathering. Sympathetic cars beeped in encouragement and support from below.

   Democracy on his shirt and a submarine on his head  Hemed Bridge. Exposing my sign Sail

Protester in front of inflated submarine. Hemed BridgePeople gathering for the Great Submarine March at Hemed Bridge and junction. My little sign says “Sail”, a relevant variant on the ubiquitous “Go” calling on BIbi to quit.

Police and the Big Submarine Wars

A person whose conscience is clear would not feel threatened by plastic toys

It didn’t take long since the launch of the Big Submarine March until the police halted us.

Nay – attacked us.

It became evident from one event to the next, that police had a phobia – obviously cascaded from above – for toy submarines…

Jokes are circulating on the Web that police is training a special unit for puncturing plastic subs. It is a personal choice whether to laugh or to cry. The inevitable result, though, is that by now plastic, rubber and all kinds of makeshift submarines are springing around the country like mushrooms after the rains.

As to the great submarine war, I will let the videos do the talking. More clips are posted on my Youtube playlist, Israel’s wave of demonstrations.

Prelude – A proud submarine on the march

Police on the war path

Police/protesters 1:0 Submarines dumped

Police/Protesters 2:0 – protesters detained

Police/protesters 1:1 We continue,unphazed

Nonetheless, and despite losing our submarines, many of us, on our own initiatives, or following prompts from our “leaders”, kept on marching onwards past the police. The goal: Jerusalem.

For more videos from the submarine march, and especially from the big submarine wars on Road no.1, see my YouTube playlist: Wave of Demonstrations Israel .

Police Blocking the Main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway

Blocking Road #1: Police/protesters 1:0

The police claimed our march was illegal and that we were obstructing traffic. Neither claim was true.

Ironically, in order to obstruct our efforts and hinder our movement, they chose to block the traffic from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem themselves.

Protester sit-down: Police/protesters 1:1

Some of us reacted with a sit-down. 

Others started to sneak out (see below)

Submarines, damaged and deflated, rescued from the deep seas (Police/protesters: 0:1)

Yet, despite all that brutality and thanks to the warriors’ tenacity and ingenuity, the poor bruised submarines did make it eventually to the holy city…

(You can see the rescued submarines below and in my upcoming post about the Balfour demonstration which followed on the march. To get new posts directly to your mailbox, subscribe).

Subamrine March - Sneaking It on Highway #1

Police sends protesters to the Israeli Sierra Madres

Apparently, as I understood later, the police sent many folks who were sitting on the road to an alternative route on the hills. 

That made their hike both more arduous and longer, but they eventually reached the destination and joined us in Jerusalem!!! Hence I am now granting the protesters another point:   Police/protesters 0:1

Our sub-group (the “sneakers”) continued unphazed on the margins of road #1, raising the tally in our favor: Police/potesters 0:2

Destination ahead. Protesters along rt. 1. Submarine march Hemed JerusalemWhy not enjoy a walk and good company on a lovely day?

I was one of those who tricked our way out of the trap, in the course of which I was pushed physically by a young policewoman twice! My automatic reaction was: “Don’t touch me.” Luckily for me, she did not pursue. I found an opening in the blockade and snuck out.

We walked on the margins, which were uneven. Sometimes it was best to walk in the drainage canals. In parts where they were working to widen the road, it was easier.

Here are some interesting scenes:

The road to Jerusalem is mostly uphill, with a few downhills for good measure. Rushing it at the pace of the 20 and 30-year-olds was a challenge, but I withstood it with flying colors and slightly aching knees.

Or-Ly Barlev (see Appendix) is heard in the background of one of the videos stating that at no point did police bother to protect us. They chose, instead, to detain people, obstruct our efforts and frame us all as criminals. Us, not the one blamed for high corruption at his fortified palace on Balfour…

In other words, 

Police seems to have ignored its main role -  protecting the citizens and democratic law, where the right to protest is held sacrosanct. Instead, they chose to attack peaceful demonstrators and plastic toys.

Submarine March - A Pink Show

We were getting closer. Here are some inspiring pics from a fun and energetic protest group known as The Pink Front:

Joi d'vivre. Protester on cables wheel on way to Jerusalem. Submarine march Getting close to the city. Pink Front protester on cables wheel

PinkFront members celebrating the arrival in Jerusalem

Women, generally, are well-represented in the protest movement, adding color, spunk and leadership to the overall effort. Shikma Shwartzman, the founder of the Black Flags movement, and Or-Ly Barlev, “the one-woman media channel of the revolution”, are two prime examples.

I believe the pinkishness of the revolution also marks the battles ahead of us in Israeli society, way beyond our hoped-for victory. Here we enter the terriotory of the evolution beyond the revolution. There are powerful forces in Israeli society who want to bring Israeli women back to the diasporic Middle Ages. We won’t let them!

A detailed article on Ha’aretz, English edition, explains how pink became the color of the anti-Netanyahu protests:

The feminine color of power, the color of hope, optimism and love... Pink spread from a small group of artists to take over the protests.

Na'ama Riba, Ha'aretz magazine, Oct 10th, 2020 Tweet

Submarine March - At Thy Gates, Oh, Jerusalem

Police/Protesters 1:1

Almost all of our forces arrived at the destination (see below under “aftermath” about those who did not), submarine-less for the time being, but exhilirated and proud.

A well-deserved coffee break under the Chords Bridge

This nice man, Ilan Greenpeter, has been an inspiration in several other protests and demonstrations. Here Ilan, who brought with him a full coffee-making gear, prepares the hot drink and pours it into small paper cups for all of us, hikers, to enjoy this coolish Jerusalem evening. Well-deserved rest by the Strings Bridge

Marchers solidarity and the coffee after. Great Submarine MarchMaking coffee for the Revolution

Regrouping and gathering the energies 

At this point, some folks who were diverted into the mountains (see above) started arriving as well and joined us (others reached Balfour on their own). The group consolidated. And then, lo and behold, out of the depths of the Israeli Sierra Madres, the pink submarine made a surprise comeback…

We took out our signs, musical instruments and noisemakers, waved our flags, switching from a mountain climbing mode (preceded by the surviving-the-police mode) to city marching manner.

The Big Submarine March Conquers the City

Police/protesters 0:3

We started marching on an eerily quiet (Jaffa) Yafo Street, Jerusalem’s central thoroughfare. We walked behind the pink submarine, like the Israelites of old behind the pillar of fire – chanting, drumming, making ourselves well-heard.

As we advanced from the business part to where actual people live, some stared at us from the windows and balconies. As is the established custom, we addressed them with the chant:  צאו מהמרפסת, המדינה קורסת, which rhymes nicely in Hebrew and means: Get out of your porches, the country is collapsing.

Not much response. Many curious looks.

When we reached King George Street, however, I was walking side by side with an elderly man. All of a sudden, out of a side street, a young teenager emerged, ran towards us, snatched the pink flag out of my companion’s hand and escaped back on his tracks into the night…

Balfour: police/protesters 0:5

Eventually, we reached the highly-familiar plaza, now known as Democracy Square, formerly (or officially, depending who you ask) known as Paris Square. This is the hub where we gather on a weekly basis for the Saturday night demonstrations against Netanyahu ,and some come on Fridays for Kabbalot Shabbat. Here there is also a permanent protest tent, where highly dedicated individuals, headed by Amir Haskel, have been protesting for months.

This time there was a surprise. To know what it was, look for my upcoming post: 

Trojan Horse at Balfour 

Due to the surprise, and the appearance of two subamrines at Balfour, I am now granting the protesters 5 points and the police 0. 

At a later stage, the police locked demonstrators trying to go home on Agron St., granting them another dubious point.

The final tally is

police/protesters 2:6.

One nasty point the police received was for the brutal, senseless arrests described below. The protesters get extra points for courage, tenacity and innovation, bringing the point tally up to a minimum of 6.

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Aftermath - The Partisans of Year 2020

The war with the police did not end with our unmistakable triumphant victory. Some of our best and brightests were brutalized and arrested back there at Hemed, and brought to the Jerusalem police station.

Here is one sad story of a Road number 1 submarine warrior on that fateful day:

This Facebook posting summarizes the event succinctly:

 Adi Ronen Argov

“This is Niv, a reserve officer, handcuffed, bruised and led to custody. This is his story.
Watch or take a look because it’s too much to bear.
Niv says – we are the partisans of 2020.
Thank you Niv, pride!”
 

Niv Sadovski, a reserve IDF officer, arrested. Big Submarine March

I hope my readers have noticed by now that the Israeli protest movement, unlike many other protest movements world-wide, is indeed peaceful: no burning tires, no Molotov bottles, no broken shop windows or looted stores, no attacks on Bibi followers or the police. The violence is entirely one-sided: directed towards the protesters. Carrying a balloon is not considered a violent offence.

Here is the link to Niv’s story as told by himself at the Kabbalat Shabbat on Balfour Nov. 20th, a week after this arrest. (in Hebrew)
 
 
This, folks, is the tortuous road to saving our precious democracy. 
 
And as the song goes:
 
You don’t know what you’ve got, till its’ gone…

Update: Our Efforts Are not Entirely in Vain

Last week Benny Gantz, Head of the Blue and White party and substitute prime minister under the unity government coalition agreed, under tremendous pressures, to establish a special committee within the Ministry of Defense with regard to the submarine issue. Today, though, four former directors of the Ministry of Defense said that an independent state committee was absolutely required to delve into the allegations. This is what we have been demanding!

Here is the link to the Google translation of the report and a quote:

Four former Defense Ministry CEOs recently issued detailed affidavits in the submarine affair. The affidavits show that everyone agrees on one thing: the State of Israel must investigate in depth the affair that cost the taxpayer billions of shekels, in which Netanyahu allowed Egypt to be provided two advanced submarines while hiding this approval from the defense minister.

If we, citizens of Israel, against our own police and government, in conjuntion with non-profits like the MQG, had succeeded to turn the course of events and lift the submarines out of the oceans of corrupt oblivion, that would be our reward, and a reason for pride in our newly-found civilian power.

Notwithstanding, the road is long and convoluted, which much work needed to be done. Nothing is finalized yet. Bibi and his lawyers will, for sure, come up with every new trick in the book to block the move. Our job is not even nearly done, and this Saturday the sun will shine on the Second Big Submarine Flotilla…

Appendix - Or-Ly Barlev and the Alternative Media

The appendix is now posted separately. The link will be published here shortly. Keep following. Subscribe to the newsletter. 

For more videos from this event and from other protests and demonstrations around Israel see my You Tube playlist: Wave of Demonstrations Israel 

This post belongs in my blog

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The links to the upcoming post covering the event at Democracy Square and the appendix about the alternative media covering the protest movement will be posted here once they are published.

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