Posted August 28th, 2012
By Alex Willick, Otzma
The primary reason for my being in Israel is to learn what it’s like to be an Israeli — all the wonders, difficulties, elation, struggles, and passions included. That’s why I joined this protest.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news coming out of here, aside from the constant barrage of violent attacks from religiously motivated radicals, there is an amazingly organic, homegrown protest of the cost of living in this country. Housing costs, especially in the cities, has skyrocketed as industry privatization moves forward. The wealth gap is widening as the middle class is becoming decreasingly able to purchase land of their own, and land owners reap the benefits of the lack of a rent-ceiling.
On the evening of Saturday, September 3rd, after Shabbat ended, the “March of the Million” protest began in almost every major city around Israel, calling for a recognition of the plight of the people.
I joined the march in the city of my temporary residence, Karmi’el. It was emotionally-charged, meaningful, and most importantly, peaceful. The march culminated in a park in the center of the city, where a stage was set up where speakers and musicians further empowered the eager crowd.
A bona fide child of the Tri-State Area, Alex Willick was born in Bergen County, NJ, raised in Westport, Connecticut, and subsequently lived in New York City. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009, where he studied music and philosophy, both of which continue to be passionate areas of study. He has spent the last few years working for the Jewish community in New York City, including a year and a half at UJA-Federation of New York and some time at Heeb Magazine.
Since the summer of 2011, Alex has been living in Israel as a member of Project Otzma, and he is happy to have the opportunity to live and serve with the people he loves, in the country he loves. After a year of living in places that tourists rarely have the opportunity to visit, he cannot wait to be back and making Israel an even greater part of his identity. In August, 2012, he will be beginning his graduate studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, and will be a candidate for a Master’s in Jewish Experiential Education with a specialty in Israel Education in 2014.
Alex is also a musician, writer, and photographer, and his blog can be found at AriInIsrael.tumblr.com.