The state of the young Left

The "children of the candles" - the "peace generation" of the Oslo era - is no more. Today there are a few young anarchists who demonstrate in the West Bank, a small minority of volunteers for liberal causes, but there are no youthful masses ready to protest Operation Cast Lead. "Nearly all my friends, in the movement and outside, supported the decision to attack Hamas. We can't just let it go on firing rockets at our civilians, and if the only way to stop it is with military force - and Hamas didn't offer any alternative - then that's what we had to do," said Peleg Jakubovits, 18, a Hashomer Hatza'ir member from Karkur who is part of a pre-army group that's doing after-school activities with children in the South. "But now, I think we should try to reach a cease-fire to prevent more injuries and deaths on both sides. I know some young people who say we never should have used military force in the first place, and I know some others who say we should just bash all the Palestinians, but I'd say the great majority of my friends see the situation about like I do." After his year of national service, Jakubovits says he will either enter a Nahal Brigade infantry unit or become an air force pilot. At the rally on Tel Aviv's Rehov Ibn Gvirol, three 17-year-old boys from Rishon Lezion and Kfar Saba described themselves as anarchists. "We don't believe in leaders and governments, not the State of Israel and definitely not Hamas," said one, who, like his friends, didn't give his name. The three said they planned to refuse the draft, even if that meant sitting in jail. They join the demonstrations in the West Bank against the security fence, as well as demonstrations for animal rights, and hang out at punk rock clubs. "Socially, we don't have much to do with the kids in school," said one. As for the war, they wrote it off to "capitalism." "It's just a way for the army to get more money," said one boy.