Protester Profiles

Tent City protesters are a diverse group of activists

Tent city protester profile (photo credit: Seth J. Frantzman)
Tent city protester profile
(photo credit: Seth J. Frantzman)
Aya, 26, from Haifa, lives in a tent in Banyas Occupation: backpacker, poi (performance art of twirling fire) Came to the protest on Friday, July 15 Past political activism? No Goals at the protest: “I am going to stay here and see what is going to happen. I want to be a part of this change, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a huge one. I think this is the start of a really huge thing – the economy, the whole world and everything will change, like a revolution. It isn’t just the rents and things.”
Quotable quotes: “I like the way I live, but I understand the protesters.They haven’t seen the light, they don’t understand it isn’t about the houses or the cars, you can grow your own food and live in a tent in nature.
“They want to live here, and it is their right to live with respect. In my speech to the protesters I talked about the fact that I was never able to be here with my tent, and this is about freedom to do what you like.“Most people today in Israel study things not because they like it but only because they want a job afterwards. You need to study what you like, not because it will make you more money. The country should give people time to do what they love.
“People in the Middle East and Europe are screaming and sick of everything, the people here just know their life is bad… Here we started talking about making the government quit.
“In the beginning, they weren’t sure they could say that, and now they are saying it. And then they said one of us should go for it, one of the people who believe in freedom, peace and love. This is the start of a really beautiful thing.”
Adi Peled, 31, from Rehovot, lives in Ness Ziona Occupation: Special education Came to the protest on Thursday, July 14 Past political activism? Ecological causes, such as to protest what’s being done at Palmahim Beach.Goals at the protest: “I wanted to give [something] to others and to show my love, so I volunteered. Housing costs are too high. I wanted to work for social change.
Quotable quotes: “I work two shifts a day [in the communal kitchen] feeding 200 people at each shift… It gets hot in the day and people’s tempers increase and we aren’t getting much sleep here.“I am a progressive activist, but not political. Some of these people are political and they come from across the spectrum. There is a growing interest in the country.
“I believe in love, unity and making this a better place.”
Shai Bechor, 25, from Ramat Gan Occupation: student of law and economics at Bar-Ilan University Came to the protest on Friday, July 15 Past political activism? None Goals at the protest: “I think it is a just struggle. People in Israel need to see it is possible to find an apartment to buy or rent. It is very hard now and not everyone can afford it, and it makes us fear for the future.
“The country’s mortgages are inadequate. There should be housing for the young. There should be small apartments with two rooms that people can buy or rent.”
Quotable quotes: “In Israel you spend three years in the army, then you go to university, and then you need to work three years to pay for that. Then you are already an adult, you want to find a home and pay for yourself and get married.“Everyone says this is just about Tel Aviv, but it isn’t.They should take public land and make a small town for youth with public transportation.
“I don’t know if it was harder for my parents’ generation, but it is a question of how we feel about the current situation.
Just in the last three years, the cost of a home has increased 50 by percent. Salaries have not increased by the same amount.
“I will stay [at the protest] until we receive a solution from the government. Not just something where they say “OK, thanks” – but something real, something that will deal with the problems.”
Itzik Shmueli, 31, from Tel Aviv, lives in Ramat Gan Occupation: president, National Union of Israeli Students Past political activism? National Union of Israeli Students Came to the protest on Friday, July 15 Goals at the protest: “The plan is to keep up the fight; the government is not listening.”
Quotable quote: “As a representative of the NUIS, which represents 300,000 students, we came to the struggle for Tel Aviv and the periphery [of the country. The current situation] is a social problem for all of us, and hurts us all.The students are coming to stay in tents from the whole country.”
Boaz Golan Occupation: Ayalim volunteer Past political activism? Ayalim Association Came to the protest on Thursday, July 21 Goals at the protest: “We came here today to set up a booth and interest people in our practical solutions.”
Quotable quote: “We are a Zionist organization that works to strengthen communities in the Negev and Galilee. We have worked for eight years and have 700 students living in our villages throughout the country. We have seen a lot of pluralism here and are working for something concrete and practical, morning to night.”