Business as usual in Tel Aviv
Photo: Hila Tov

Tel Avivians unmoved by pullout

Disengagement begins, but locals at packed Tel Aviv coffee shops say they are unmoved. Young woman sums it up: I don’t watch the news and don’t know what’s going on. I have my own problems

The pullout may indeed be under way, but Tel Aviv residents do not appear to be too excited over the disengagement. Indeed, even the heavy heat blanketing the town has not prevented the locals from packing coffee shops across the city and focusing on their cappuccinos.


Accordingly, anyone looking for some empathy to the suffering of settlers about to be evacuated from their homes would be sorely disappointed.


“I feel relief,” says Netzer Aloni, an actor who resides in Tel Aviv and makes a habit of drinking his morning coffee at a cafe on the fashionable Shenkin street.


“As far as I’m concerned, we should get out of there as quickly as possible. For me it’s a day of joy, of a new beginning,” he says. “I hope everything goes well. I want to offer support to the IDF and security forces because they’re undergoing a difficult period.”


No empathy for settlers on Shenkin Street (Photo: Miri Chason) 


Despite his clear sentiments, Aloni stresses that he does not wish for anyone to be hurt during the evacuation.


“I hope the evacuation will be carried out smoothly, and that no settler, soldier, Arab or Jew will be hurt,” he said. “However, I do not have any empathy or understanding to the setters’ situation.”


Next to Aloni we find two young women in their 20s. They don’t exactly understand what all the fuss is about. Disengagement is a unknown concept tothem.


“I don’t understand what’s the fuss, and what exactly started today,” one said. “I don't follow the news and don’t know what’s going on. I have my own problems and I am not looking for more.”


Aliza and Ronen Azuolai, mother and son from the coastal city of Bat Yam, are sitting in the same coffee shop. They empathize with the settlers but support the government.


“There is no choice, we must get them out of there,” Aliza says. “It was predictable and should have happened long ago. I empathize with the settlers’ pain but not with their ideology. Those crazy youngsters, the extremists causing all the problems, are cheeky. They should be gathered and thrown out of there. They’re not Zionists, just out of their minds, bored teenagers without jobs, risking the lives of soldiers that are going through a traumatic experience over there.”


'I have a wedding to plan'


Liran and Anat are celebrating their Hena (traditional Sephardic pre-wedding celebration) today, and they too do not seem too bothered by the momentous events taken place not far from there.


“When we scheduled the wedding, there wasn’t much talk about the disengagement so we didn’t think it will become so meaningful. Yet, it’s a shame my army buddies were called to the reserves. I was also supposed to report for duty on the 21st, a day before the wedding. It goes without saying I ignored the notice. With all due respect, I have a wedding to plan.”


During the hour we spent at the coffee shop, we only found one client who really identified with the settlers’ plight. Oren Cohen (36) from Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, said settlers should receive all the support they need.


“I really value these people,” he said. “I believe they are pioneers sent by past governments. Personally, I support the withdrawal, but I do understand them and think they deserve everything,” he said.


Uprooting families from their homes and jobs is no simple thing. They should be given everything we possibly can – money and 100 percent support,” he said.


פרסום ראשון: 08.15.05, 15:48
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