"The 'country'... It's just some lines they drew on a map eighty years ago."
Location: Habonim Beach
Residence: Tel Aviv
The encounter: I was meeting friends at the beach for a sunset picnic. When we arrived at this beautiful secluded spot, we discovered it had been taken over by several groups of people who had set up tents and loudspeakers, playing deafening dance music. At first I was annoyed. But I decided to approach one of the guys for an interview. He and his three friends were kicking a ball, waiting for more people to arrive and for the party to start.
What are you doing here right now?
I'm here with some friends for a bachelor party. The groom isn’t here yet. We just set up the equipment. We're planning to be here the whole night. The wedding is next week at the Dead Sea.
What is your occupation?
I'm a computer programmer.
How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I'm completely secular.
Can you tell me a bit about your family?
I have a twin brother. We were born when my parents were working in New York, so I have American citizenship. But we returned to Israel when my brother and I were still infants, so we grew up here. My twin brother now lives in South Africa.
Where is your family from?
My grandmother on my father's side is from Hungary. She survived Auschwitz and came to Israel right after the war. My mother's family is from Uruguay.
What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
I'm not hoping for anything: within two years, I'll be out of here! Religion is ruining everything. They [the ultra-orthodox] have too much power. They control this whole country. If you’re not Jewish here, you’re second-class. I want to live somewhere more liberal, more open - maybe the US, maybe Australia. The ultra-orthodox are tipping the demographic balance. But it’s not just the ultra-orthodox. This is becoming a country of ignorant people who just follow preachers and politicians. We [secular liberals] are becoming a minority here. This is it. All we have left is Tel Aviv. I just want to live my life in peace. I was a combat soldier; I was in Lebanon, I fought in wars, but I'm not staying here to save this country. The "country"– what does that mean anyway? It's just some lines they drew on a map eighty years ago.