This week, when I arrived at about 09:00, I could again hear demonstrators - again at my position near the Bank of Israel. My partner, a grandmotherly lady who has been a volunteer for a long time and who used to work in the prime minister's office building, was sitting there accompanied by a number of shotrót, policewomen. So, it appeared, this time I was going to have to handle demonstrators in spite of policy. I shrugged my shoulders. The majority of the demonstrators were sitting in wheelchairs and were protesting cuts in funding for cripples who suffered polio and other diseases and injuries.
They made up for the limits on their mobility with their noise. They had gotten a friend to bring his tow truck, outfitted with huge speakers and a generator, and they used a mike to scream at Olmert to come down from his cabinet meeting and look the people he was screwing over face to face.
They were much louder than the demonstrators had been last week, though they used some of the same techniques. They played the "color red" alert used to warn of Qassam and Katyusha rockets. The demonstrators had used this device last week to make the sheltered prime minister and his fellow ministers hear what it was that the residents of the north had to deal with last year (and what the residents of S'derot have to deal with still).
But the big difference was that these folks did not have a pre-recorded message they played over and over again. Each individual took the mike and called upon Olmert to show a little courage and come down from his comfortable chair in the meeting room to sit with them in the plastic chairs outside the Bank of Israel. Over and over again, they drove home the point that the cuts made by the government and the niggling increase in allowance for crippled people was a scandal - a shame.
One women made me glad that she was not my wife. Her screaming was something no husband should have to endure.
Handling the demonstrators turned out to be no problem. They could see a sympathetic person in me, one restrained in what he could say because of the uniform, but evidently someone who understood their problems and treated them with dignity. I guess that puts me a few degrees above the politicians they were condemning.