"Kibbutznik"- Ein-Hashofet Kibbutz, Israel, 2016
"My name is Arbel Rom. I’m 40-year old from Kibbutz Ein Hashfet. I grew up on the kibbutz which was a very small, closed, homogenic community. Only when I left, ah, first of all to service in the army, and then to the United States, to, ah, the college, I understand how much of, how much I didn’t know. Now the kibbutz is much more heterogenic, see people from different background, everybody here [has] access to, you know, to internet, computers—everybody knows everything. And when something happens in the United States within minutes everybody knows it here also.
"As far as, um, army service goes, I saw it as a great opportunity to test my limits, to know other people. A lot people treat the Israeli army as the, what they call, the fusion reactor of the Israeli society. Because it actually fuses people of different backgrounds which are thrown together in a very extreme situation sometimes, and you meet new—you make new friends.
"I… don’t have a solution to all of the region’s problems, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Um… it’s not something I or you could change tomorrow. But I think like, said, famous singer called Michael Jackson, he said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” One can, uh, argue about the quality of music, but I think this sentence is very strong. It actually resonated with me when I thought about it. He said, well, let’s try to behave better to each other and then we all gonna have a better future. See he says, all these Arabs and these Jews, and the Israelis…and the, the army is killing us and rockets are fired from Gaza and this and that and this and that. But if the, the same majority would take control, I’m sure in a couple of years… but the same majority is, occupied in just, again like I said, in making a living and trying to live his life. So, the extremists from both sides are, um, are wreaking havoc.
"I wish I could end on an optimistic note, but I can’t. Ah, my kids are going to be in the army, just like I did. I don’t know about their kids—my grandkids. Hopefully, it will be an army smaller with less conflict and a solution. And may the sane voices win."