|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
My generation grew up with the feeling that we were alone in the world. It’s us versus the TV screen. That the other is our enemy, that he is our competitor. We grew up with the feeling that we are in living in a race we have no chance of winning, that we mustn’t rely on anyone else. They taught us that it’s either you or him. That’s capitalism – unending competition. The fact that this generation – the loneliest and withdrawn generation – stood up and did something is nothing short of a miracle. The miracle of the summer of 2011. There you have it – everything that we thought, all they taught us – was wrong! What happened here was exactly what needed to happen.
We were closed up each of us in his own cycle, a cycle of dissatisfaction, of a feeling of absurdity. And suddenly we began to talk, and more importantly: We began to listen.
So they called us the extreme left. They tried to define us. How on earth do they know who I am? How do they know who you are? Where do they get the chutzpah? The best answer to their assertions came not from me of from my friends, it came from the tent camps that sprang up in Hatikva neighborhood, in Jesse Cohen, in Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Shmona, Modiin, Rahat, Kalansawa, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bet Shean, Yerucham, and in tens of other places. All of us, the whole country, realized that there is no right or left – we are all servants/we all serve.
They told us – go to the periphery towns. What a terrible and condescending thing to say. What is that – “go to the periphery”? It’s something you say as if – there, there are no people. That there is a wasteland. Silence. And you know what? How lucky it is that they sent us to the periphery. Because we discovered there what we already knew – that this country is full of beating hearts. I went there and found friends for life.
And anyway – what is that – “go to the periphery”? The State of Israel screwed over and continues to screw over its periphery systematically and methodically from the moment it was established. In education, health, infrastructure, housing, welfare, culture – to say “go to the periphery” is unprecedented hypocrisy. To talk of ‘periphery’ is to perpetuate the old discourse that cuts out human beings, that tells them: You are put aside. You are remote. Your needs are less important and your demands are worth less. This summer we proved to everyone that there is no such thing as periphery – we are all central! Every single one of us! We reduced the physical distance between us and we found out that it’s good that way, that we want to remain close. That they will no longer manage to distance us and to divide us.
And then came the security escalation. But even the missiles that fell did not ruin this protest. The opposite – they showed how strong and true it is. The fact that we didn’t fold then was, I’ve already said this, the most moving aspect of this protest. The time has come for the concept “Security Situation” to stop being a value and return to being what it is – a situation. And a situation that must change.
Missiles fell, and we were silent for a few days. We marched in silence. And then what did they say? They said that the protest was fading out. Instead of recognizing that it pained us that a million Israelis were living under the threat of missiles, that we were hurting for the people injured, killed, and whose houses were ruined. But instead of appreciated that we were with them, instead of seeing how our silence came from love, they said “the protest is fading out”. They tried to turn our solidarity into retreat.
The truth is, it was sad. How on earth does the government of Israel dare to make such an attempt of divide and rule? A government that abandoned its residents; that abandoned its elderly, its sick, its immigrants, its weak. How can is now come to us with such an assertion? Israeli governments have divided us for years, and when finally we come together, when we showed that we are not willing to carry on sitting in front of the TV, they said that we are not showing solidarity. We don’t show solidarity? Look at what’s going on here!
When they talk about security they come to protect human lives – how does that line up with the Israeli government’s policy of recklessness?
I’m 25 years old. What are my biggest memories of this country: the 2nd Lebanon War, the period of terrorism, friends who were killed then, the assassination of Rabin, Gilad Shalit. And that’s even without going into that I’m 3rd generation Holocaust survivor. This was my consciousness. Moments and memories laced with death, loss, pain, fear, and the feeling that everything is temporary.
At the demonstration in Afula I saw a sign: “For 31 days I have been proud to be Israeli”. I stand before you and I am now proud to be an Israeli for 7 weeks. I feel we are together building here our self-worth as a society. To say “I deserve” means that someone else also deserves, that we deserve. This summer brought with it many good moments and memories – of hope, of change, fraternity, listening.
A discourse of life has been created. It’s the most important awakening there has been here. We are not here just to survive, we are here in order to live. We are not here just because we have nowhere else. We are here because we want to be here. We choose to be here, we choose to be in a good place, in a just society, we want to live in society as a society – not as a collection of lonely individuals who each sit in front of one box, the TV, and once every four years put a slip in another box – the polling box.
We are here, not because we have no other land. We are here because this is the land we want. Without our even noticing, people have begun to return from abroad, suddenly there’s a feeling that something’s happening here that mustn’t be missed.