Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

Describing his life of relative comfort in Tel Aviv, Yoav Ben Simon suggests that instigating a change from the status quo will first require overcoming the apathy of many Israelis.

Growing up in Jerusalem, I've concluded, pushes one to either of two extremes: the first one, so I speculate, is the common denominator of my current audience – a deep engagement with the conflict. And the other… well, the other extreme pushes one as far away from all things political. In the past few years, this latter one has been my abode.

For the past three years I have been living in Tel Aviv, where I had settled in order to pursue my studies in the field of cognitive neuroscience. This choice of location was decided upon after my return from a two year spell abroad (as one often does after his/her military service), basing my decision on the fact that this city represents for me the exact opposite of everything I've grown tired of in Jerusalem.

If I had to describe my life in the present I would have to plagiarise and say "comfortably numb". I have a very agreeable job with a high-tech company, a roomy apartment near the beach, monochromatic companions and a rapidly accelerating academic future.

All in all, my only interaction with the conflict at present is through the newspapers at best, but mainly through these pesky security checks when I go to have a beer at night. I've slowly but steadily, over the course of the last three years, strayed away from all of the organisations I once supported with religious zeal which has now been sublimated into my research.

This short introduction does not show me in the best of lights, but if you intend to keep track of the notions I'll be formulating in the company of this noble council, I think it's crucial you know where they stem from. After all, as people of conscience you might find my perspective somewhat disagreeable. If it wasn't for the myriad of Israelis that silently share it you'd do right to ignore it but be things as they are, if any change is to be expected, the will of this insubordinate herd of cats must be mobilised to instigate it.

Yoav Ben Simon is 27 years old, and a PhD candidate in cognitive neuroscience. He was raised in Jerusalem and today lives in Tel Aviv.

Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Elders or The Elders Foundation.

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