TAU student recreates the tent protest on campus

Barak Segal set to take up residence in tent at Tel Aviv University in demonstration against high cost of housing.

TAU tent protester 370 (photo credit: Danielle Ziri)
TAU tent protester 370
(photo credit: Danielle Ziri)
TAU graduate student Barak Segal, who was one of the leaders of the July 2011 social justice movement along with Daphni Leef and Stav Shaffir, decided to protest the high cost of housing by putting up a tent on the university’s campus and reside in it starting Wednesday.
Segal decided to recreate the tent protest, which took place on Rothschild Boulevard in the summer of 2011, after his landlord raised the rent of his one bedroom Ramat Gan apartment by almost 10 percent.
“I don’t blame him. He is caught in a cycle. If I need water to produce corn and the price of water rises, I’m going to have to raise the price of my corn. It’s a cycle,” he said, walking around campus, putting up posters that read “Taking over the academia! The campus is ours!” On the bottom of the posters, an empty box with the title “What bothers you?” was left for people to fill. As he stuck and stapled the signs around the university, he asked passersby the same question and heard responses like “apathy,” “housing” and “yellow journalism.”
“I could have gone and looked for another apartment but I’m fed up and I won’t play that game anymore. At first I wanted to come live here, and not tell anyone behind one of the buildings and stay here for six months, as if I’m in some tzimer (inn) in the north. You can live here easily, there is everything,” he explained, The other option was to ask his parents for help, but Segal said he feels he is “too old for that,” so after talking to friends, he decided he could “shake the students awake a little,” and turn his living situation into a public statement, calling for change and addressing the cost of housing issue.
According to a recent survey, half of Israeli students have received financial aid from their parents in the past academic year. The average amount of this financial aid in 2011-2012 reached NIS 14,355, a 15 percent increase from the year before.
On the facebook event page he opened, Segal made clear that positioning himself on campus isn’t an attack on Tel Aviv University.
“I just think students can define what the future is going to look like. I think that we are taught a lot of things here that help us produce ideas. Except in the real world, those things don’t happen. I think the university, as a learning place, can be the host for our uprising and support our ideas.”
Orna Cohen, TAU’s spokeswoman, wrote a statement to The Jerusalem Post saying: “Tel Aviv University allows students and faculty to protest on campus after submitting an application to the appropriate parties at the university. Barak Segal also has submitted an application to demonstrate.
The university will review the request and decide whether to grant it to him.”
Segal is set to put up his tent on the grass of the TAU campus on Wednesday afternoon.
“The hope is that 300,000 students will uprise and create a situation where things can finally change. But this kind of thing takes time,” Segal said.
He is expected to be joined by “at least 30” others who will do the same. Faculty, students and other university staff will also come for support. The event will be made festive with performers and other activities through the weekend.