Stav Shaffir

    is an Israeli journalist and activist. She has focused on channelling the voices of immigrants to Israel from Darfur, Guinea, Eritrea, the Philippines and Thailand. She helped initiate the wave of popular protest that swept Israel this summer with her Facebook appeal against excessively high rents. While she does not regard the housing question as primary, she believes it is an issue that can help unite Israelis in the face of problems they have to grapple with on a daily basis. “Many of us have made a lot of compromises with our own ideologies to reach a consensus. We have put egos aside, and agreed not to talk about more political issues, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or settlements. We have said: ‘Let’s focus on something that will bring everyone together’ – and it’s worked. […] People talk about [security] all the time. But security also means education, health, housing. We don’t want to be controlled by fear. People here think they have no right to do anything [on social issues] in case other people think that’s against your country. […] Who are we to be leaders? My role here is to stop bigger organisations taking control. Every day I stand with my hands in front of me stopping interests from taking over this beautiful thing. But everyone who wants to be a leader here is a leader.”