August 17-18: I stayed the night in the main tents' camp in Tel Aviv.
I decided to do so as I felt that the protest was losing some momentum so I wanted to feel the vibe from within and I was sure that one more head to the count wouldn't be bad for sure.
I arrived around 20:00 and was impressed by the amount of people. There are several gathering places were meetings were taking places - in some of them were classes were given and in others there were round tables of experts debating and explaining economic, ideological, cultural and other aspects of the protest. In many other points in the camp people were sitting around talking, debating, getting a free massage or running a regular tents camp 'life'. Half a hour before I arrived there was a video conference with the tent dwellers in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid.
The sight of hundreds of people respectfully and politely debating into the night finances, economy, budget planning and society base-values is something to remember. This awareness won't die and won't fade, even when the tents won't be here anymore. Israelis were always opinionated, but the culture of street debates and finances-society oriented debates are new.
I could feel some tiredness comparing to the first days of the camp. The humidity and temperatures of the Israeli summer and the days passing by are taking their toll. However, when I started talking with people it was obvious that it's a 'tactical' weariness. The motivation for the protest is still there and even stronger. People know now that they aren't alone, that others think like them and that there is a wide public support for their demands.
At 24:00 I went to grab a slice of pizza. While I was eating and sweating outside of the pizzeria, three men in undershirts took a seat nearby and were passionately planning the next protest actions in a suburb of Tel Aviv - what is called here 'the neighborhoods' (the low and low-middle class neighborhoods). My guess is that they were followers of the ruling right wing party and one of the religious parties. They discussed how the ruling party activist in their places are trying to obstruct the protest and how they (the speakers) are successfully coordinating their actions with the protest leaders, though they insisted that they must be independent in taking new initiatives, since otherwise the protest can't succeed and if it fails the next chance to make a change will be in years.
I was generously hosted in the tents of the National Left movement. My neighbors for the night were 2 high school students, a graphic designer and its amazing puppy, a 50 years old women who was thrown of her house and 3 students. Everyone were looking for ideological discussion including the 60 years old man who joined us at 1:00am with a small bottle of beer to join with everyone. Each person had its own reasons to 'Attent', but they have formed a community, they know each others history, weaknesses, pains and even food preferences - much more than what I know about the neighbors of my rented apartment. I went to sleep at 3:00am, when everyone were still discussing the relation between state and religion.The others said they'll wake up for work at 7:00am, but I needed to wake earlier.
When I woke up for work at 5:45am, everyone were asleep, but the light was great for another round of photos. Enjoy!
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