The Israeli government may not be taking them very seriously, but a small bucket of social activists who colonized Rothschild Avenue last summer with tents, pop-up massage parlors and peace-preaching posters have yet to give in to the country’s growing income disparity.
Refusing to pay exorbitant prices for shoebox apartments amid the city’s concrete lanes and glass towers, twelve protesters have taken up residence on a former fruit orchard in Arsuf, where they are establishing a small ecological community.
At first glance it looks like a group of young people squatting on a 1.75 acres roughly 15 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, but the property on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the family of Amir Ben-Ya’ar.
Instead of cashing in on a stellar real estate sale, he decided to invite his friends to help form an eco-community there, according to Ha’aretz.
Most of the residents are living off bare bones and the food grown on site, including radishes and lettuce. Sometimes scouts volunteer to gather up scraps from nearby restaurants, and they build most of what they need out of recycled materials.
It should be noted that all of this is happening in one of the wealthiest clusters in all of Israel, and that the activists are totally at ease surrounded by people who value material wealth over living half-naked in a so-called “utopia.”
Meanwhile, they’re even growing their own sugar cane in order to keep their tea nice sweet, though they buy their tobacco from a nearby Palestinian community called Barta’a.
The community’s five chickens are especially revered. Ha’aretz writes that a doctoral anthropologist student said that building a shrine to them is more valuable now than working on a book that will land up on a shelf somewhere.
Although it gets somewhat chilly in parts of Israel during winter, a new generation of farmers can still take relief in the country’s relative mild weather.
Ben-Ya’ar told the paper that the Hof Hasharon Regional Council “has begun to sniff around,” though the nomadic nature of this place ensures that residents and stray guests can pack up and leave within hours if need be.
Image of Arsuf by Dany_Sternfeld, Flickr