“If they are doing it in Egypt we can do it here!”

Hundreds of workers organized by the Workers Advice Center (WAC) marched Saturday (April 30) in Tel Aviv to call for equality, social justice and solidarity with the popular uprisings in the Arab world. Truck drivers, college lecturers, social workers, agricultural laborers, quarry workers, waiters, students and activists – all marched to mark International Workers Day for the sixth successive year.

Hundreds join WAC’s International Workers Day March

Hundreds of workers organized by the Workers Advice Center (WAC) marched Saturday (April 30) in Tel Aviv to call for equality, social justice and solidarity with the popular uprisings in the Arab world. Truck drivers, college lecturers, social workers, agricultural laborers, quarry workers, waiters, students and activists – all marched to mark International Workers Day for the sixth successive year.

The march began on Rothschild Boulevard and ended in Meir Park on King George Street, where an assembly was held, led by WAC’s Asma Agbarieh-Zahalka.

Asma began with a surprising greeting to all those present from the textile workers of el-Mahalla el-Kubra in Egypt. The words of greeting were sent by Hamdi Hussein, a member of the democratic union of el-Mahala workers: “The first of May, 2011, has a new flavor, a sweet flavor of freedom, of victory in the downfall of the dictator, a flavor that entices us to continue to struggle and fulfill the rest of the demands for which the uprising began – the most important being social justice for the entire Egyptian people. Please accept my greetings and the greetings of the Egyptian Communist Party to all the workers of Palestine and the members of WAC.”

“WAC is celebrating this 1st of May with a surge of activity and organizing” said Assaf Adiv, WAC’s secretary-general. “If the Egyptian people have risen up after 30 years of dictatorship, we here in Israel are still stuck with an occupation of over 40 years. Beyond this crime we confront Israel’s social crimes. To be a worker in Israel today is to lack security. For too long, people have been under the illusion that just by merit you can succeed. Capitalism, we were also told, is good for everyone, but the enormous gaps in Israeli society show a different story. WAC is the meeting place for those who believe that change can be achieved. If they are doing it in Egypt, we can do it here!”

Yossi Mar Haim, a re-known musician representing the teachers of Musrara College of Arts, told those present about the signing of a collective agreement with the college management, which led to a salary raise and tenure. Salit Quarry workers’ committee member Mohammed Fuqara spoke about the organizing of Palestinian workers at the quarry and the collective agreement which is to be signed soon. Anat Barel, representing the teachers at the Youth Wing of the Israel Museum, said the workers had tried to unionize in the past, but only when they unionized with WAC had they felt hope in their struggle for tenure and fair employment terms. Michal Harel spoke about the tough employment conditions for waiters in Tel Aviv, the erosion of the status of workers in Israel, and the importance of unionization as a path to social change and awareness. Wafa Tiara was uploaded by dozens of agriculture workers when she spoke about their struggle for employment.

Of particular note was the speech of Sarit Tzarfati, one of the leaders of the recent social workers’ struggle. “The Histadrut is not a democratic organization,” she said. “For this reason, our strike was not successful. The Histadrut demanded only what the Finance Ministry was willing to give. When the workers refused the agreement, it was forced upon them.” Tzarfait also called for the democratization of the unions and cooperation between unions like WAC, Koach La-Ovdim and others.

Musician Shahar Cohen also played for those present, and poets Roi “Chiki” Arad, Yehudit Shahar and Yehoshua Simon read some of their works. One of the highlights was when tenor Yotam Cohen and Asma Agbarieh Zahalka sang the Internationale in Hebrew and Arabic (soon to be found on YouTube).

All photos were taken by Dotan Gur Arye

 

MORE...

The East Jerusalem Project

Severe employment crisis in East Jerusalem ahead of Ramadan

On the eve of Ramadan, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are facing an economic and social crisis exacerbated by a 7.6 per cent increase in unemployment since the outbreak of the war. Despite the crisis, the government is severely undermining its own five-year plan for East Jerusalem. MAAN Workers Association (hence MAAN) calls on the mayor and the incoming city council to secure budgets to reduce socio-economic gaps in the city.

READ MORE »
Palestinian Workers

MAAN and Kav Laoved write to Immigration and Population Authority and demand to reserve a place in the quota for Palestinian workers with a permit who resigned/fired during the “Iron Swords” war

The two workers’ rights groups wrote on Feb. 13 to Mr. Moshe Nakash the head of the Immigration and Population Authority and demanded that special measures will be taken to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian workers and also to enable Israeli employers to overcome the crisis and keep their experienced workers.

READ MORE »
Palestinian Workers

The War in Gaza Brings Severe Poverty and Despair to the West Bank

Journalist Hagar Sheizaf of Haaretz collaborated with MAAN to give a compelling presentation on the dire situation of Palestinian workers out of work for four months due to the war. Sheizaf quotes Assaf Adiv, MAAN’s Executive Director and also workers affiliated with MAAN who worked in Israel for dozens of years. These workers bare no responsibility for the October 7 terrorist attack, yet they pay the price. All of them demand to go back to their work places in Israel for the benefit of all.

READ MORE »

אנא כתבו את שמכם המלא, טלפון ותיאור קצר של נושא הפנייה, ונציג\ה של מען יחזרו אליכם בהקדם האפשרי.

رجاءً اكتبوا اسمكم الكامل، الهاتف، ووصف قصير حول موضوع توجهكم، ومندوب عن نقابة معًا سيعاود الاتصال بكم لاحقًا








As an organization committed to the rights of workers without distinction of religion, race, nationality, gender, or profession - democracy is our essence. We strongly oppose the authoritarian laws that the extreme government of Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Smotrich is attempting to impose.

Without democracy, there are no workers' rights, just as a workers' organization cannot exist under dictatorship.

only a victory of the democratic camp will enable a discussion on the Palestinian issue and lead to an alternative solution to occupation and apartheid while ensuring human rights and citizenship for all, Israelis and Palestinians alike. As long as the apartheid regime persists, the democratic camp will not succeed in defeating Israeli extremists. Therefore, we work to involve the Arab and Palestinian society in the protest.

We invite you:

To march with us in protests and to build an alternative, democratic, Jewish-Arab professional union in Israel. Join our quiet WhatsApp group today, "Marching with us in protest."

To join MAAN and unite workers in your workplace. Read here how to join the organization.

To follow MAAN's work on social networks.

Please write your full name, phone number, and a brief description of the subject of your inquiry, and a representative from our organization will get back to you as soon as possible.