Recently, I went to the Teder venue in Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood, which also houses Eyal Shani’s restaurant Romano. As ISRAEL21c’s social media coordinator, I wanted to ask everyday people how they are coping with the terrible war we are currently experiencing.
I asked people three questions: What three words describe how you are feeling right now? What is your greatest hope for the future? What can people outside of Israel do to help?
After gathering footage from the young adults inside, I went outside to get a different range of respondents.
In a walkway behind Teder, I came across two older women sitting outside with their dogs, talking to each other.
I approached them, introduced myself, and asked if I could ask them three nonpolitical questions.
When I asked what people outside Israel can do to help, one of them told me that her daughter, visual poet Nitzan Mintz, along with urban artist Dede Bandaid, spearheaded the #KidnappedFromIsrael project in partnership with the designers Tal Huber and Shira Gershoni.
This campaign (read more about it here) has now become one of the most widespread guerilla public artworks in history.
Thousands of activists from across six continents – in Australia, major European capitals, more than 30 states in the US, South America, Asia and Africa — have been printing out and hanging up #KidnappedFromIsrael posters of individual hostages, circulated via Dropbox, in dozens of cities around the world.
They are all united with the goal of spreading awareness and bringing the hostages back home safely and immediately.
Nitzan’s mother, Gali, told me the world needs to see what’s going on. There was so much emotion in her eyes. She was really passionate and upset about it – she was adamant that nobody should look away from what is happening.
I took down her name and number and I went on with my day. A couple of hours later, I was getting hungry. l looked around for a place to grab a bite to eat, but there wasn’t much open because of the situation.
The shop was closing, though, so I went back out to the corner and stood there, trying to figure out where I wanted to eat.
Then all of a sudden, I get a red alert warning of an incoming missile. I don’t even know where I am, I’m just in the middle of a residential neighborhood where a shop happens to be.
As the siren is wailing, who do I run into? Gali!
She’s like, “Oh, Natalie, come, do you have a place to go? Do you have a shelter?” I told her I didn‘t.
And she told me to come to her house.
So she invites me, and two older women who were also standing on the corner, and brings us into her basement. We stand there for a few minutes and then afterward she says, “Okay, it’s probably safe now.”
Then she says, “Natalie, you have my number. If you need anything, if you’re ever in another situation like this, call me and let me know. Maybe I can help.”