I encountered this fellow today downtown at an outdoor craftmarket in Tel Aviv. He was performing Kermit songs with a back-up band, which consisted of a guitarist and an electric kazoo player. I have some wonderful photographs of the mesmerized children, but I chose to post this picture because I love the facial expression of this performer. There are a lot of entrepreneurial folks in Tel Aviv, the economy of Israel has suffered terribly since the second intifada, street performers and artists deftly ply their crafts wherever there is space.
I also spoke at length today with a friend I have made at our local coffee shop, her name is Gili (think G. Lee). I was explaining to her the nature of our political endeavors, and the political work that I did in the States prior to coming here. I told her that we were researching some of the motivating factors for young Israelis that keep them engaged in the electorate. Seeing as young Israelis participate at such a higher level than young Americans, the idea is that it would be great if we could tap into some of the more visceral issues for Israelis and bring that steam back with us to engage young Americans.
Gili in turn related to me a very interesting perspective. At first she disagreed that young Israelis were more engaged. The voting record plainly disproves her assertion here, which I pointed out to her. Upon further conversation however, Gili related that as far as she could tell, Americans have the wonderful luxury of not having to consume themselves with the political beast. From her standpoint, politics should be an optional activity. Gili longs to live in an environment where she doesn't have to involve herself with politics. So this got me thinking, it really is maybe a broader symptom of my generation then, this desire to anesthatize ourselves with the material techno-gadgetry and designer fashions of our global marketplace. Or maybe it's just a double-edged sword, you can't have it both ways. I have spent my days of late, trying to figure out why young people in America are disinclined towards politics, and here on the other side of the world they think not caring is great. I'm trying to come up with ways to engage, and they're over here trying to disengage. The grass is always greener...