Vickie Knafo "Leading the People"? Single Mothers (2003), Poor Disabled (2016) Protest Pilgrimages to Jerusalem

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Miri GAL-EZER, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel
"Liberty Leading the People" (1830), Eugène DELACROIX's iconic painting, depicts 1789 Revolution; Liberty is personified by rebellious, victorious young woman. "In her raised right hand is the red, white, and blue flag, a symbol of struggle […] like a flame" (The Louvre). On 2 July 2003, Vickie Knafo, a Mizrahi (Eastern Jew) single mother of three children, left home in Negev Desert development town Mitzpeh-Ramon to Jerusalem, marching 205km pilgrimage protest to meet Netanyahu, then Finance Minister. Knafo, kindergarten cook, earned only third of her monthly income, the rest was state benefits. But new neoliberal allowances' austerity measures, cut two thirds of her income by Netanyahu, thus she decided to act: "I grabbed my Israeli flag from Independence Day and set off,'"(Gal-Ezer, 2006; Urquhart, 2003). "Like a flame", eager single women and men, disabled and the elderly, followed her pilgrimage to Jerusalem government district encampment. Israeli media titles were enthusiastic: "July Revolution" or "the rebellion of the poor."

Many Israeli Ashkenazi (Western origin Jews) middle class women's peace and security protests movements, had resources for their successful activities (Benski, 2005); but the first woman leading social economic protest was working class hero, Vickie Knafo. Deliberately on French Revolution Day, July 14th 2011, Daphne Leef lead Israel's middle class young educated new generation Social Justice Protest encampment over Israel, relatively the world sizable 2011 new movements' wave; the enthusiastic media represented Leef and the social movement, and also Knafo.

November 2016, saw Knafo accompanied by social activists, heading protest pilgrimage for the poor and disabled, marching from Netanyahu Caesarea private luxury house to Jerusalem, they met parliamentary members. The disabled struggle, embarked on 2001 was reaching its peak on September 2017, supported by 85% of Israeli citizens. Together, with workers union ally, the disabled leaders were negotiating government for final agreement.