"I have completely given up."
Location: The train between Tel Aviv and Haifa
Residence: Beit Herut
The encounter: My conversation with Lee was very quick. I got on the train in Herzliya, and she got off three stops later, in Netanya. In the short journey that we travelled together, she gave me a glimpse into her life. But just as she started to tell me what her ideals had been before she lost hope, we entered the station of Netanya.
What are you doing here right now?
I’m returning home from my studies. I’m studying dog training in Tel Aviv. I’m learning to work with dogs with behavioral problems – unfortunately there are many of those. I feel a great bond with animals. Actually, I love dogs more than people.
How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I have no connection at all with religion, and I am only Israeli because I live in Israel. Beside that, I don’t think I have anything that characterizes me as an Israeli. I’d happily live somewhere else. For sure!
Can you tell me a bit about your family?
I have two older brothers, who are both married and have children.
Where is your family from?
My parents were born in Israel. My dad’s parents are from Iraq. My mom’s parents are from Tripoli, Libya. I once had to write a paper for school about my roots, but I don’t remember the details. My grandparents came to Israel during one of the immigrations, some years before the State of Israel was declared, sometime in the 1940s.
What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
I doubt that my future will be here. Because of the conditions in which we live here: the economy, politics, security... I hope that my future will not be here, but in Australia. My family isn’t thrilled about my wanting to move.
Right now, I’m giving Israel a last chance. Four months ago, I moved from Ashkelon to a more rural, quieter place, to recover from the tension. In Ashkelon, you constantly feel the pressure of society around you: people are stressed out, less tolerant... and, of course, the security situation was bad. This last war was very difficult, with rockets falling everywhere. We were unable to leave our homes, constantly afraid. But it wasn’t just because of the war that I decided to move. It was everything together: living in a stressful city, in the south, with constant security threats.
I don’t expect much from the elections: the truth is that I have disconnected myself from all political opinions. Unfortunately, I have completely given up. And I’m saying ‘unfortunately’ because I should have continued fighting. But when all the options are bad, there is nothing left to aspire to.