Thousands of Arabs and Jews, gathered in Nazareth on Saturday morning, April 28, to take part in the city’s annual May Day march organized by Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI). While keeping with the tradition of commemorating International Workers’ Day, the demonstrators also marched against the occupation as well as Israel’s repression of Palestinians in Gaza and the neo-liberal social and economic policies of Netanyahu’s far-right government. Together the participants called for justice, peace, and workers’ rights.
All Hadash MKs from the Joint List were among the marchers, including the bloc’s head Ayman Oden, Aida Touma-Suleiman, Dov Khenin, and Yousef Jabareen. Also taking part in the event were the Secretary General of the CPI, Adel Amer; the leading party activist, Mohammed Barakeh, a former MK and currently chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee; former mayor of Nazareth, Ramez Jerayssi; and the Hadash candidate for mayor in the next municipal elections, Mus’ab Dukhan.
The march ended around midday and was followed by a rally at the Ma’ayan Square where speeches were delivered by Amer, Dukhan and the Secretary of the Young Communist League in Tel Aviv, and Omri Baraness a young women who served time in prison for refusing to be conscripted into the Israeli army and serve the occupation. The rally was concluded with the joint singing of the “International” by members of the Communist Party.
Starting at dawn on Monday morning, the eve May Day, the four MKs from Hadash stationed themselves at the Eyal checkpoint, one of the busiest entries for Palestinian laborers into Israel, and handed out red flowers and pamphlets explaining workers’ rights to Palestinian workers from the occupied territories on their way to work in Israel. Along with the MKs who greeted and wished well the Palestinian workers towards May Day were members of the Hadash caucus in the Histadrut Labor Federation.
Towards this year’s international day of worker solidarity, Hadash published a statement in which it is noted how, during the past twelve months, “The number of strikes and workers actively demanding their rights and the defense of organized labor has increased. Large forces are now united by their understanding of their shared interests, as part of the 99% who are exploited by tycoons who, in Israel, enjoy economic tyranny sponsored by governmental policy.”
In Tel Aviv, social activists, youth groups, and left-wing political parties will convene on Friday May 4 for the city’s May Day a parade and rally. The march will begin at 12:30 am at the intersection of Rothschild Blvd. and Allenby Street, and from there continue to Levinsky Square in southern Tel Aviv, where a rally will be held in the heart of the area where most of the country’s foreign workers and refugees live. Speakers scheduled to appear at the rally include MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) and representatives of unions and leftist movements. Among the organizers of the march and rally are Hadash, the CPI and the Young Communist League; Meretz, Standing Together, the Worker’s Hotline, the Janitors Union from Tel Aviv University, Physicians for Human Rights, Koah La’Ovdim Union, members of Socialist Struggle and the Refugees Community Organization.
Tuesday evening, stating at 7 pm, a May Day meeting will be held by the Koah La’Ovdim union at the Alliance House in Jerusalem with the participation of MK Touma-Sliman and the union activists. In parallel, another meeting will be held at “Multaka-Mifgash” Center in Beer-Sheva to discuss current working class issues in Israel. Next Saturday, May 5, another event will be held in Nazareth by Hadash Histadrut caucus on exploitation and labor rights of Arab women in Israel.