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Israelis against war

by: Anat Bershkovsky, - Last updated: 2006-07-27



A new protest movement, "Waking up on time", has been established following the current war in Lebanon.

The movement is based on the Four Mothers movement which called on the Israel Defense Forces to leave Lebanon six years ago, but this time, the 15 active members of the new organization stress, "this will a movement of everyone, women and men, young and old."

The 15 members of the new movement on Wednesday night put up 100 protest signs against the fighting in Lebanon across the city of Kfar Saba. The cities of Herzliya and Raanana have also been targeted.

Due to the grave events in Lebanon, the activists rushed to produce improvised protest signs and start their activities. In the coming days, they promised, the protest signs will stick out even more.

Rachel, who was a Four Mothers activist and is now a member of the new movement, has no sons or sons-in-law serving in Lebanon. She is a resident of central Israel, a kindergarten teacher, and a grandmother of two, who cannot understand what Israel is doing again in that place, in Lebanon.

"I never thought and never believed that we would enter Lebanon again. Leaving Lebanon is the best thing that happened to our country," she said.

According to Rachel, "after a week or two of fighting inside Lebanon, we saw that no movement has been established, and this is terrible. We hoped that someone else would raise the flag, that the young mothers would stand up. Even the Meretz party let us down. We understood that there is no choice and that we must arouse the public once again."

One of the young women in the group is Ruthie, a 27-year-old student from Kfar Saba, who also used to be active in the Four Mothers movement. Some of her closest friends were killed in Lebanon.

"Every day we wait will claim a higher price from us. Unfortunately, we have already paid a heavy price. We must leave Lebanon now and as soon as possible. Who ever imagined that we would find ourselves inside Lebanon so quickly? A week ago we were only striking from the air," she said.

The name of the movement also conceals a message.

"This time we won't wait 18 years to demand that Israel leave Lebanon, but now, so as not to be drawn into an operation which will be impossible to escape from," the activists explained.

The movement was born as protest movements are usually born: In the living room. At first the initiators spoke on the phone and expressed their rage over the situation and the IDF's operations in the field. Later they met in one of the houses and began acting.

"The idea to form an organisation came from the heart. It came to show that there may be another way, that it doesn’t have to be like this. Today's incident only strengthens these feelings," said Ruthie.

In the coming night, the group members will begin hanging signs on central junctions across the country. The signs bear a clear and personal message against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, in order to clarify that they have already learned the lesson this time and are directing straight to the head. No more general and unfocused statements.

One of the signs reads: "Olmert: Missing Sharon so entering Lebanon?" Another sign shows a picture of a Hizbullah member guarding caged IDF soldiers above the caption: "With Amir Peretz – your children are in good hands."

Rachel explained: "During the Four Mothers period it took a long time before we issued personal attacks. In the first stage we only issued general statements. Now we have learned that from the beginning we must personally hurt Peretz and Olmert."
According to Rachel, "they are trying to sell us slogans, that we have to be strong, the home front has to be strong. But I believe the home front has to speak. Does being strong mean losing soldiers in an unnecessary war which you didn’t think twice about?"

Ruthie added that the more one speaks to people, "the more one understands that more and more people fear the situation. We feel that we are not in good hands or that the move is unjustified. There is probably a censorship which does not reveal the entire truth to us."

Referring to the difficulty to expose her full name, Rachel said: "It is difficult to stand in a junction with the drivers cursing you and making a u-turn especially in order to spit on you. So our first step is to come out with the signs."

Reproduced with permission: Ynet