I saw this by Naomi Chazan and thought you’d want to as well. She looks forward to the new year with surprising optimism, in “Yes we can,” published a few days ago at the Times of Israel website. It begins as follows:
This past year – so confusing, discombobulating and, in many respects, disheartening also provides the seeds of hope for the one that has just commenced. Despite the regional insecurity and economic uncertainty that has engendered a prevailing sense that the future bears more of the same, there has emerged a new, concerned and involved Israeli who is beginning to reshape the country and demand a part in molding its destiny. Beneath the all-too familiar veneer of formal politics, an array of individuals and groups, far from indifferent or apathetic, holds promise for real change. They are the harbingers of what may yet make 5774 the year of the citizen.
The gradual reengagement of many Israelis in the public arena began two summers ago, when the social justice uprising galvanized large portions of the population into a collective demand for a vision that would provide a horizon for themselves and successive generations. Despite the paucity of short-term tangible gains, the social movement did make a major contribution to altering the discourse in the country (with political aspirants quickly adopting the language of change and innovation and many citizens honing their critical facilities in response). It also signaled a significant shift in attitude. No longer content to sit passively by while steps detrimental to their well being were adopted, people started to take note of everything, from the price of vegetables and electricity to the content of education, and from reduced pensions and discrimination in the workplace to debates over Iran, Syria and the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. During the past year, fueled by the new media and by the rapid expansion of social networks, this revived interest has begun to assume concrete form. . . .
Prof. Chazan, a former Meretz MK and deputy speaker of the Knesset, goes on to discuss advancements for public accountability, women and other under-represented groups, such as Ethiopian immigrants and Palestinian Israelis. Click here for entire article.