Saturday, January 07, 2006

Getting to know you...

Aviv Netter, local activist. We spoke with Aviv at length today about his opinion of Israeli politics. He told us about his work for the Meretz party, a party comprised mostly of students. Meretz is far left, farther even than Amir Peretz's Labour. Aviv also spoke to us about what it's like to be gay in Israel. He says he feels as though Israelis are a bit closer to Europe in terms of their attitudes towards gay people, as opposed to the United States which appeared a bit more homophobic. But he pointed out that even so, Israeli politicians are so consumed with conflict and security that social issues such as gay rights play little to no role in election politics. It appears no one is really courting the gay vote. Aviv is the chairman of an organization called Ge'ut which translates roughly as "Pride."

Although Aviv feels he has pride associated with his homosexuality, when it comes to his status as an Israeli citizen, he is much less passionate. He told us he has very little pride for himself as an Israeli. He said that it wasn't until he travelled outside the country that he actually felt inspired to seek out his Jewish identity. He told us also that he is considering raising his children in a different country. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to hear some of these young people speak about their feeling of despair. Despair for a country mired in violence. It may just be the current point in the conflict, but there is a sense amongst young people right now that they will not see a solution in their lifetimes. Limited in their pursuits, and embittered for it.

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