Under COVID-19 Restrictions, May Day Rallies to Be Held Nationwide

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, May Day events commemorating this year’s International Workers’ Solidarity Day will take place tomorrow, Friday May 1, with a number of rallies and demonstrations across Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Acre, Kufr Yassif in the Western Galilee, and other locales.

From the front-page of the special May Day edition of the Communist Hebrew weekly Zu Haderech. The slogans read: "Corona is a virus. Capitalism is the epidemic. On May Day we demand 100% of our wages!"

From the front-page of the special May Day edition of the Communist Hebrew weekly Zu Haderech. The slogans read: “Corona is a virus. Capitalism is the epidemic. On May Day we demand 100% of our wages!”

Activists from Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and the Young Communist League are involved in the planning and preparations for all these May Day events, collaborating with other leftist and militant union activists.

In Tel Aviv, a convoy of red-flagged cars will set our on Friday morning at 10:30 from the former Sde Dov airport, travel a route of about 17 km through the city, until it reaches to the old Central Bus Station, where a rally will be held at 12:00. This event will take place in the center of the area where most of the foreign workers and refugees in Israel live. In Haifa a demonstration will begin at 10:30 in UNESCO Square in the German Colony, and in Jerusalem, at the same hour a May Day event will be held at King George Street near the HaMashbir commercial center. In Nazareth, the May Day demonstration being organized by Hadash and the CPI will start at 10:30, in the city’s Fountain Square.

In preparation for this year’s International Workers’ Solidarity Day, the CPI has published a four-page “Corona Crisis Social Exit Plan” in which it states that, “May Day this year is unique in that it in addition to workers’ rights it will be emphasizing their rights to health and unimpaired wages during the lockdown, making this day of struggle more important than ever. During this time of the pandemic, prevention and treatment of the disease must and are in fact being taken care of by the authorities. But in the wake of the pandemic’s outbreak, there is a social epidemic manifesting itself in concerted attacks on workers, their rights, wages, working hours and conditions, hygiene, safety and health. To handle the medical crisis, many governments, including that of Israel, are conducting campaigns characterized by neo-liberal exploitation of workers. More than 1.1 million workers in Israel have either been furloughed from their jobs without pay or entirely dismissed from their positions. The most vulnerable workers, namely those who had precarious hourly or daily jobs, and self-employed workers, constitute the vast majority of the victims of the lockdown in addition to the distressing situation of many individual, small and medium-size business owners. Hundreds of thousands of workers were forced to work from home, with many of them also having to actively supervise the mostly untenable “distance learning” plans with their children at home due to the closure of schools. This has created totally unsustainable situations in tens of thousands of homes. Furthermore, working hours for those who have to work from home are entirely unregulated. Finally, many workers whose jobs have not been suspended including those who are in the first line of the medical and societal response must contend with vastly intensified work, and often do not have the health and safety conditions necessary for them to perform their work.”

In Tel Aviv, Communist, Hadash, labor and social activists, youth groups and human rights movements will convene at Rabin Square on Saturday evening, May 2, at 20:30 for another demonstration demanding that the government honor the social and civil rights of the population.