Israel's Protest Queen Daphni Leef Isn't Prime Minister — Yet

Leader of Tent City Works in a Beauty Parlor

One More Cup of Coffee: Tuvia Tenenbom meets with Daphni Leef in a Tel Aviv café.
isi tenenbom
One More Cup of Coffee: Tuvia Tenenbom meets with Daphni Leef in a Tel Aviv café.

By Tuvia Tenenbom

Published April 20, 2014, issue of April 25, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

“Well, let’s go back to the protests, which are long over. What is Daphni Leef doing these days?”

“I’m in a period of pondering, observing, thinking of my future steps. Meantime I make a living, I work.”

“Doing what?”

“Video editing. I’m working on my own movie, a documentary. Also, once a week I work as a reception clerk at a beauty salon.”

“Are you in touch with Itzik and Stav?”

“No.”

“They boarded your train, but they got off at a totally different stop than you did.”

“I wouldn’t phrase it like this.”

Leef, a clerk in a beauty salon instead of a parliament member, won’t say a bad word against those who reaped the fruits of the seeds that she has planted. These days, not only is Daphni not a legislator but she is also on the exact opposite side of the law: A criminal case in which Daphni is accused of rioting and using force to prevent lawful arrest during a social protest is still open. And I ask myself: How come this leader is faring so badly?

This is not the only question I have about Leef. Jaffa, part of the Tel Aviv municipality, is where many leftist Israelis reside, spending much of their time and energies criticizing Israel’s handling of the conflict with the Palestinians. I thought that she would behave in the same manner, but she doesn’t. I am sitting here with her for over an hour but she does not utter a single word about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“What’s wrong with you, Daphni?” I ask her. “How come you don’t even mention this issue?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“Whatever you think!”

“I think that religious fundamentalism in both societies is the main cause of the conflict. I’m not proud of my government’s handling of the conflict, but there is a lot of hypocrisy on both sides, and on the side of the Europeans and the Americans, who are also involved in this conflict. To say that the responsibility lies only with the Israelis is a naïveté.”

She also blames the media.

“If you go to Jaffa’s beaches, you’ll see hasidic couples dating, you’ll see women with bikinis, and you’ll see Arab families having barbecues,” she says. “Nobody bothers anybody, because all they want is one thing: the beach. But you don’t hear about them in the news, because it’s not an ‘item’ and it’s not a ‘story.’”

“When was the last time that you went to visit Palestinian cities?”

“I was never there.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.