The Future is in the unity of Arab Migrant and Jewish Workers

The following speech was written for Tel Aviv’s most recent social justice protest this past Saturday. While the speech was ultimately not read aloud, it has been translated for +972 with permission from the author, Wafa Tiara.

The following speech was written for Tel Aviv’s most recent social justice protest this past Saturday. While the speech was ultimately not read aloud, it has been translated for +972 with permission from the author, Wafa Tiara.

Good evening to all protesters,

My name is Wafa Tiara from Kufr Qara, and I am an activist in the Workers Advice Center (WAC-Ma’an). I have come with my friends and colleagues, farmers, construction workers, truck drivers, contract workers in the Antiquities Authority and educational institutions, Palestinians who work in settlements, college lecturers, young people, Jews and Arabs – in order to say to this government loud and clear: We are the voice of this protest, and we demand change!

There are those who claim that we are unclear, that we demand “all sorts of things.” We demand direct employment, not through contractors. We demand pensions. We demand a fair wage, not just minimum wage. We demand job security. We demand education for our children. We demand respect for labor laws. We demand an end to being poor workers. Is that not clear enough?

We are poor workers, and it’s not our fault. We are workers and we are poor because of this government. We are poor because the government wants to keep us poor. Alongside us, 150,000 migrant laborers are licensed to work – Thai workers in agriculture, Chinese workers in construction and Filipinos in nursing. They are modern slaves. Eli Yishai calls for the deportation of the Sudanese because he claims they bring disease. But the same Eli Yishai is also the one to import hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. And do you know why he doesn’t say that they, too, bring disease? Because they pay tens of thousands of dollars to manpower agencies who bring them here to work. And I say: It’s not the sick migrants, but Israeli society that is sick!

The disease is privatization, the disease is tax benefits to the rich, the disease is the link between capital and government, the disease is the massive profits the tycoons earn at our expense, the disease is racism, the disease is occupation, the disease is the refusal to make peace and become a normal society. It is those who refuse peace and equality who are sick, not the migrants!

They scare us with Iran, with Greece and with Sudan. They want us to be afraid, to give up and be quiet. To this we respond loud and clear: We are not afraid!

And we don’t believe them!

And we will continue to demonstrate until we regain our dignity, a fair job and a future for our children. We are the people, and we demand social justice! We are Greece, Sudan, Cairo and Damascus! We are all victims of piggish capitalism, and we are united in our desire to change the system. This is the Spring of Nations; this is the spring of workers, in Ramallah, Cairo, Tunis, Greece and Damascus. All over the world, “the people demand social justice,” and we, from here, express our deep solidarity with them – especially with the Syrian people being massacred by Assad’s criminal regime. The people have woken up, the workers have woken up and we here woke up – and we aren’t going back to sleep!

The future is in our hands, in the unity of Jewish, Arab and migrant workers:

– No to racism! Yes to equality!

– No to war! Yes to peace!

– No to exploitation! Yes and yes to social justice!

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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.