Israel’s Tent Protest Movement is Growing Roots in an Eco-Community

eco-community, social protest, activism, agriculture, tent city, Tel Aviv, Israel, ArsufThe 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.

:: Ha’aretz

Image of Arsuf by Dany_Sternfeld, Flickr

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4 thoughts on “Israel’s Tent Protest Movement is Growing Roots in an Eco-Community”

  1. Hey, don’t blame Boris’ response to my article on the article. I think it’s great that you guys are building an eco-community.

  2. Roz says:

    Are we “Eco Freaks” ( the headline in the printed version of the article in Haaretz) because we simply prefer to not have chemicals on our food?
    Because we love to work the earth, and to not spend extravagant anounts of money and energy on unnecessary gadgets and social norms?
    Are we ‘pagans’ if we love to sing? if we draw, and drum, and dance, and express our joy and amusement at having chickens by devoting an area to them?

    perhaps Roy Arad misunderstood. perhaps he came with his own personal preconceived notions and didn’t truly listen to what this place the Tzilia, has to say.
    I came from the busy Jerusalem life, and from the moment I stepped under the Tzilia, I realized I had found something exceptional.

    This is not a Rainbow gathering, a hippie drug nest or one long festival where people can call their selfish lack of motivation “freedom”.
    It is a place of TRUE freedom, of POSITIVE action and of living the change we want to see in the world. Its a place of PERSONAL responsibily, to ourselves as humans, and to the earth on which we are all a commune of visitors.
    The Arsuf Tzilia is open to ALL those who want to take part in remembering that there are other ways. To take part in evolving our relationship with the earth, and with our governments, our society.
    To see Amir Ben Yaar quoted so whimsically-“no beauracracy, everyone living happy” was disappointing. Amir, and others under the Tzilia, have so many ideas and actions that far surpass those naive words . Actions that inspire people to rethink their connection with ground they walk on, the food they eat and the people they follow. actions that encourage health, and joy, and freedom.

    all are accepted and all can take part. Don’t be fooled by this article.
    enough words…
    come see for yourself.

    1. Lis says:

      Roz, I fully support everything that you are doing. I have recently made Aliyah from the us and I am currently living in Netanya in a “cement block.” While I am grateful for what I have, I search the true freedom you all are speaking about. Are you still living on the same land? How exciting!:)

  3. boris says:

    Oh, great. Those cry-babies now enviromentalists now.

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