Political Campaign: The State of Tel Aviv

Ayelet Hashachar Sapir

The campaign was originally prepared for the 60th anniversary of the state and its aim was to protest the actual existence of the state of Tel Aviv and its foreignness in our midst. The campaign includes five poster-maps which I had prepared in the framework of the course "Political Campaign" led by the designer, Yossi Lemel. I think that the campaign is more relelvant now than ever, when the city of Tel Aviv is celebrating !00 years of existence.

Today the centre of decision-making in the country in every field exists in what is called the "state of Tel Aviv".  The decision-makers, who do not take into consideration what lies beyond the limits of Tel Aviv, which they have a tendency of comparing to Manhattan, even control the communication channels in such a way that their opinion is spread in the accepted channels, but does not reflect the situation properly.

This unbalanced situation sharpens the gaps existing in the population, especially the socio-economic gap between rich and poor, and in my opinion, also the gap between the religious and the secular.  This does not refer to the residents of the Tel Aviv city themselves, who are after all people  who are living their lives innocently in the city of Tel Aviv but to a threatening economic entity,  a block  of towers that are flowering in the air, nurtured by those who determine taste and policy. This situation is expressed in an ostentatious, arrogant  life style, cut off from the Israeli reality that exists in the rest of the country.

In greater detail, the alienation of the people of the state of Tel Aviv towards the rest of the country stems from the following characteristics:

Egoism: the people of the state of Tel Aviv claim that this is "individuaslism", but actually it is pure egoism. What does not suit them the people of Tel Aviv don't bother to do.  It refers to an isolationism from the fabric of Israeli life, from combative army service, for example, (or army service at all).  They don't feel the need to prove their belonging to the larger society and are not interested to enter the "melting pot"

Superficial, hedonistic culture: the aggressive adoption of foreign fashions: pick-up bars with shared toilets (actually the concept and not just the building); ostentatious buildings, astronomical prices for apartments; people who waste more money than they can allow themselves on fashionable entertainments at new venues, events where what is important is who wore what; the cultivation of a nouveau riche fashion like fitness centres or make-up parties for children. This adoption of ostentatious cultural norms was unacceptable only a few years ago and is an attempt to determine the "new Israeli taste", what is "right" and what is "passé" for all of us.

Ignorance. in relation to other sectors in the country. When those who set the fashion bother to go to the periphery, they tend to adopt ideas and claim that they are revealing something original to the world; they relate to the periphery as to something provincial and backward. For example, the "discovery"  of the advantages of eating organic food, something that became a trend only when the Tel Avivians declared this to be so, even though numerous communities all over Israel had already been living with this awareness for years.

Indifference to other sectors:  During the last years the people of Tel Aviv related in the same towards the "refugees" who asked for their support at the critical moments in their lives: they were related to as a nuisance. These were the citizens from the north who escaped the centre of the country during the second Lebanon war, and the evacuees from the disengagement, and those who had been shelled in Sderot and the surrounding areas. It was for good reason that residents of Sderot complained that the Tel Avivians only want to drink their espresso undisturbed even when there is war in the south of the country. In a similar vein, there were also voices against Route 6 that "would destroy the country" lacking a real understanding of the need of people from the periphery to reach work (which is sometimes only in the centre) comfortably.

It continues with an indifference to the existing reality: by taking a stand as "citizens of the world" who don't want to understand where we are living and why we are obliged to take certain steps. They often talk of peace but in contrast to the Zionist left wing parties, that aim towards a real idealistic co-existence with our neighbours, the Tel Avivians are not moved by a love of peace or a real desire for political involvement. They only want industrial quiet which will enable them to be absorbed in their own lives. The result is that from the point of view of the fabric of life in the country, a rabbi from a settlement and a sheikh from the west bank can understand each others needs, in contrast to the people of the state of Tel Aviv who are alienated from each of them to same extent.  

political campaign.ppt (1.59 MB)


Department of Visual Communication
4th Year

Off the Record, July 2009