Marching together for equal rights
I stood in Rabin Square this past Saturday evening. Around me thousands of Jews and Arabs were gathering in the square for a demonstration against the racist Nation-State law and to call for equality. I set up our sign-making stand, with markers, stickers, and posters when a little girl ran up, excited to make a sign. “I’m from the bilingual kindergarten,” she said, as she chose a marker and began writing in big, block letters: ‘the nation-state bill is not needed,’ “Ugh, I missed a letter!” she exclaimed, and then continued: “it’s OK, so long as there’s Arabic too!”
It was an incredibly moving moment. Right there was the answer to the racist law, I thought. Despite all the incitement and racism, the discrimination and fear peddled by the government, even kindergarteners know the obvious truth: all of us deserve equality.
As a movement of over 100,000 Arabs and Jews, we know that the path to democracy and equality is still long, but it’s moments like these – the sign, this girl, the tens of thousands of Jewish and Arab citizens who marched together for equality – that give me the strength to continue fighting. It will take time, determination, and many resources, but I know that if we work together, we can succeed.
Our community has been campaigning non-stop for equal rights and against the nation-state law. Ahead of an emergency deliberation in the Knesset, over 12,000 members sent direct letters to all MKs saying: “the nation-state law doesn’t represent me!” A week earlier, thanks to donations from hundreds of Zazim members, we hung posters along the Jerusalem Pride march route saying – “the answer to homophobia and racism: equality” – in Hebrew and Arabic.
And on Saturday night in downtown Tel Aviv, together with over 30,000 citizens, Jews and Arabs from all over the country, we marched together for equal rights and democracy.
Over and over again our community is proving that there is an alternative to the government’s racism and discrimination. We call proudly for equality – in the streets and the social networks, to elected officials and the media. We know that the fight over our future has yet to be won, and that we have a lot more to do, but together we can win the fight for equality in Israel.