The following are extracts of two articles published in Yediot Aharonot on 28.2.1969. The first is by the well-known Israeli writer Yehoshua Bar-Yosef, and the second by the young “progressive” M.P, Mrs. Shulamit Aloni. This highlights the techniques of argument used to suppress any social unrest. (Yediot Aharonot is a popular evening paper).
What the Teachers Gained and Lost – by Y. Bar-Yosef
…One gains the impression that the general teacher body is clearly blind and deaf to what is happening in this country. They could not have chosen a worse hour for a more ludicrous claim, had they gathered all the fools of the ages together.
The timing is bad, for every Jewish citizen in the land today gives more than an hour or two a week for the sake of the incessant war for mere survival. Not only by going on military reserve service, and by sitting in ambushes in mud and rain, does the citizen pay, but in more prosaic daily ways too. Hundreds of thousands of workers and labourers in all spheres of life, whose standard of living and working conditions are much worse than the teachers’, know that this is a time of emergency, and that the State, which is struggling for its survival, needs that submission and acceptance on the part of the workers, so that it can continue to produce the tools necessary for its defence, and so that its economy will not collapse.
Tens of thousands of workers today could come out on strike for more important and realistic demands than the teachers’: through their struggle they too could achieve much more, but they suppress their desires and submit themselves to the severity of the day. Simple citizens understand this simple Zionism; and teachers, whose task it is to bring up the younger generation on this same Zionism, do not understand, and do not realize the severity of their act.
Moreover, in their miserable strike, the teachers open the gate to waves of new strikes, which will undermine our whole economy of war. What arguments then, can we raise against the port workers who do not have claims to very much education, to convince them of all that has to be taken into consideration these days, not to destroy the State from the inside, when an intellectual and patriotic body such as the teachers’, throws a bucket of dirty water in the nation’s face? And what shall we tell all the other exploited people who submissively and comprehendingly accept the demands for personal sacrifices, which the dangers of today require. The teachers themselves have chosen an anti-educational example of the worst kind…
The Teachers’ Wild-Cat Strikes – by Shulamit Aloni
Since wide circles of the population do not understand the strikes and their motivations, and since many teachers even fail to understand the reasons for using such a dangerous weapon, I dare ask the teachers’ leaders in the name of many citizens: “Why don’t you hold demonstrations, public meetings and gatherings in the afternoons, or in the evenings, instead of sending infant school children into the streets, in this time of emergency?”
Even if the teachers’ arguments were right, in these days when one third of the population is mobilized, in these days when we are building air-raid shelters and training the public to use gas-masks and building up grocery stocks in our homes; in these days when the fathers are on reserve military service and the mothers have to go to work, can any of these arguments and any of these claims be sufficient to justify sending children out to the streets?
The right to organize in a trade-union, the right to strike, are the fundamental rights of the working man in a democratic society. But even the use of rights, and the ways of realizing rights, have their limits. Freedom of expression is another fundamental right, but if someone shouts “fire” in a crowded cinema, without a good reason, he is a criminal, and ought not to defend himself by claiming that he has simply exercised his right of free expression. It seems to many of us that making schools idle in Israel, in 1969, is an act parallel to that of shouting “Fire”…
[Next article in the ISRACA bulletin – The New Israeli Budget by Rami Livneh]