Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three quotes on the State of Tel Aviv

Enjoying the good life with not a thought for the rest of the country. Good or bad ? Above and below: Young revellers on Rothschild Boulevard during a recent street party.

"[...] In the last decade the Israeli -Palestinian conflict has degenerated into a desperate, hopeless, impasse with no bright horizon in sight. And around Tel Aviv the country is deteriorating into a lowbrow, narrow mindedness saturated with hate and prejudice, nationalistic and  fearful of the other. When you place Tel Aviv in this perspective and without comparing it to European capitals, it is far from disappointing. On the contrary. And, as as the siege on Tel Aviv develops, its contrary nature become ever more contrary. In Tel Aviv it's normal to have sex with Arabs, to be a woman who was once a man, to go to a sperm bank to have a baby, to be homosexual, not to go to military reserve service or even mandatory service. In Tel Aviv it is not mandatory and no-one raises an eyebrow. In Tel Aviv people smoke joints in cafes. Everything that happens in other places behind closed doors happens here in the open, without shame, without the need to explain, make excuses or justify.  In Tel Aviv the fate of the Jewish people  and the Middle East conflict do not define who you are and do not define your existential space. In comparison with the rest of the country, Tel Aviv offers priceless freedom.[...]"  

Rogel Alfer summing up the last decade in the Tel Aviv 'Bubble'. Ha-Ir 1.1.10 

"[...] In 2007 only about half the 18-31 age group were certain that they wanted to live in the country..similarly only 59% of the secular public wishes to stay in Israel as  against two-thirds of the traditional and religious pubic and 87% of the haredim who wished tostay... Only 47% of the voters for the (left wing) Meretz party in the 2006 elections wanted to remain in Israel. So the chances seem high of finding adults and the elderly, religious and haredim, and voters for religious and right wing parties among those who wish to remain in Israel; on the other hand, [there are] more young people, secular people and voters from the left who want to leave (Phillipov 2007). It may be stated with certainty that the latter groups are typical of the population of 'Tel Aviv state' - young people whose culture is cosmopoltian, who are devoid of Zionist roots and who are probably ignorant of the essence and geography of the Land of Israel"

Israel : Demography and Density 2007-2020 Evgenia Bystrov and Arnon Sofer

The Anglo-Jewish writer Jonathan Margolis, recently wrote an amusing piece in the Guardian called 'Not Jewish but Jew-ish ' in which there are connections to be found between the cosmopolitan culture of the 'Tel Aviv state' and the state of secular Jews in the UK.

"Apart from the not insignificant point that being a Jew is largely an inherited condition, it seems perfectly adapted to being an "–ish". I even wonder if the etymology of the word Jewish has developed to allow my race/creed/orientation/whatever to be available in Lite. There aren't many other things you can be born into where you can choose to live the "–ish" version rather than be an "-ist" or follow an "–ism". All we Jew-ish Jews do is to elect for the Ultra Lite option."

Read the whole article (recommended) here

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