I was initially disappointed by the turnout, but numbers swelled quickly. Ha'aretz put the figure at "thousands" (more here) and The Jerusalem Post at ten thousand.
As if by divine direction, a horde began marching up King George Street towards downtown, towards Mea Shearim. From the storefronts to the far sidewalk, row upon row strode forward chanting:
"!ביבי תתעורר! הסטודנט שווה יותר: Bibi, wake up! Students are more valuable!" and "אנחנו לא פרייארים: We are not suckers!"Others called for social equality and for the return of Gilad Schalit. Bumper stickers handed out featured a char and a Hebrew play on words: "גם אנחנו לומדום בישיבה: We also learn while sitting (or in yeshiva)." Some called for the end of the country's captivity at the hands of religious minority parties.
Block upon block, a wad of humanity hundreds strong wended its way to כיכר ציון: Zion Square. Bewildered tourists and unsuspecting American yeshiva students stood by as legions of Israeli students marched past. I was somewhat surprised there was no counter-protest by the Haredi community. They must have been off learning.
Zion Square filled to the brim as Hadag Nachash lyrics blared on loudspeakers: "לא אנחנו לא פרייארים: No, we're not suckers." Once at the front of the crowd, I found myself engulfed by a tide of tweens and threens chanting against the government's unjust budget allocation and growing injustice against the dwindling mainstream. I could barely more by the time orators started speaking. It took as long to get out of Zion Square as it did to march there.
To add insult to injury, a proposal in the Knesset would add a tax to scholarships. Is the government out to destroy Israel's future middle class? This Robin Hood government aims to steal from the working classes to give to the poor. Let's hope democratic action by Israeli youth will bring reason to the Knesset.