The tents' sweet beginning

Photo by Adi ShtambergerPhoto by Adi Shtamberger
The beginning of change is emotional. Many Americans felt this way when Obama was elected and most recently, thousands of Egyptians cheered in the streets when Mubarak stepped down. Now it''s Israel''s turn.
The depth of the tent city movement clearly hit me when I was giving a colleague feedback about a piece she''d written about the tent city in Tel Aviv. In the piece, Adi Shtamberger expressed how she and many Israelis have felt visiting the tents. Her subheadings, "Hope," "Love," and, "Culture," simply conveyed this. Another colleague thought Adi said everything she herself had been feeling about the tents, and couldn''t think of any criticism.
I agreed, although I had one major comment: the order seemed wrong. In the first two sections, "Hope," and, "Love," she expressed how hopeless she had felt about Israel''s future and how surprisingly inspired she was by the tent city. Then in, "Culture," she portrayed the tent city community.
I thought it made more sense for the "Culture" section to go at the beginning to show first what Adi saw, and then go into how she felt about it. This is usually how I write: I paint a picture for readers to see and then explain the impact. But both Adi and my other colleague firmly disagreed: Israelis didn''t need evidence about the protests. They knew what was up. The power of the piece was in the feeling of the moment. This had to be front and center.
At the time, they thought my perspective was clearly an outsider''s. I couldn''t feel how big the moment was. I hadn''t been around for Rabin''s assassination. I hadn''t been around for the hope before it. I hadn''t survived the Second Intifada.
In the end, I think Adi''s version was more powerful for an Israeli audience. Israel is a small country with a lot of shared cultural experience. Therefore, there is less for an Israeli writer to explain to an Israeli audience than to a larger country. Israel is also a place with a lot of heart; Jews have immigrated to Israel either for idealistic reasons or because they were being persecuted. Many people that built the country with their own bare hands are still alive. This heart was clearly present in Adi''s writing.  
However, perhaps most important of all, Adi''s piece reflects the movement''s power. It is emotional to believe in change.
Here are some of Adi''s main observations in, "The Genie is Out," which was published in the Jerusalem Post Lite on August 10, 2011:
"Just a week ago, I believed there was no possibility for different parts of our society to find any common ground. It felt like we''ve been hating each other for a very long time…People are now starting to remember that it is possible for people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and political opinions to feel as one people. That is a good thing, no matter how cynical you want to be about it."
So, rather than analyze this sweet beginning (which I will do soon enough) for those living outside of Israel, I would like to show the vibrancy of the movement through two exceptional videos. I think it''s no coincidence that both videos sample idealistic songs from the 60s.


This is a montage of the Tel Aviv tent city by Gregory Dean Hall.


This is a film by Oren Levin of the entire night of Tel Aviv''s biggest protest yet, which was over 280,000 people.


Some readers may ask what is next? When will the honeymoon end? Will the protest achieve anything? We will see. Just as is the case with any relationship, the beginning is too short and too sweet. Let''s remember it while we can.
For more information about the writer, go to Laura Rosbrow''s homepage.