Israel Case Study: Israeli "Social Justice" Protests

Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:30 PM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Miri GAL-EZER , Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Zemach, Israel
Hillel NOSSEK , Media Studies, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon Lezion, Israel
This paper focuses on complex interactions involving offline and online activists, new and mainstream media audiences, during the Israeli "Social Justice" peaceful protests ("July 14th"- October 2011); based, amongst others, on theoretical frameworks as social agency (Bourdieu, 1998), media political economy (Couldry, 2010; Mosco, 2009), new media and social change (Downing, 2001; Castells, 2012).  Following numerous workers' union strikes in 2011, Israeli citizens desperate of welfare state deterioration, began comprehending the harsh neo-liberal economy mechanisms, and became very angry. On June 14th 2011, Ynet (a popular online news-media) continuously covered  a Facebook call by young orthodox Itzik Alrov, to boycott cottage cheese, a popular basic food, and Facebook quickly gained 100,000 followers (Levin, 2012), who also monitored supermarket prices. A month later, the young film editor, Daphni Leef, opened a Facebook call for her friends to join a tent protest in Tel-Aviv on "14thJuly", an initiative that  spread throughout Israel with even families and elderly people joining demonstrations, marches and gatherings. Some 800,000 protestors -10% of the Israeli population (nearly 8 million) - comparatively the highest number, even internationally, participated in civilian demonstrations (Shechter, 2012). Public support was 91% (July 2011 Peace Index). Israeli mainstream media - printed, online and electronic - supported the protests, opening live studios on main TV channels (participant observation; Schechter, 2012).

Research questions seek the modes and reciprocal relationships between activists, journalists, new and mainstream media audiences; through a combined methodology: offline and online ethnography and netnography; in-depth interviews with activists and journalists; and quantitative and qualitative text analyses.