Tel Aviv ‘shoe display’ aims to highlight survivors’ plight
Protesters place pile of shoes in Rabin Square in effort to create awareness for Holocaust survivors’ dire conditions; demand more funding
Tel Aviv’s Rabin square was a site of a rare form of protest on Sunday when a pile of shoes was placed in the square to symbolize Holocaust survivors’ dire conditions.
The protesters are calling on citizens to bring their own shoes to add to the pile. Around the display they posted posters which read “You threw them out like an old pair of shoes” and “Where is their money?”
The State has recently allocated NIS 50 million for Holocaust survivors but protest organizer Rafi Tal says this is not enough. “The idea came to me after realizing the terrible condition of Holocaust survivors whom I hosted in my restaurant,” he said. “Some of them used the expression ‘the state is chucking Us out like an old pair of shoes’ and that’s where the idea came from.” Tal, 29, is demanding that the government increase its budget for the survivors 2.5 times over. Some found the display in poor taste. “There are always those who would think it’s too blunt,” Tal says. “The way I see it you can either sit and do nothing or act for something that you care passionately about.” Another protester, Amir, added: “The display is meant to create awareness. On every Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are reminded of the sad stories but we are all guilty in that we don’t pay attention to them for during the rest of the year.”
Tal claims that the government has received huge amounts of money from Germany which it chose to invest in infrastructure. “There are 200,000 Holocaust survivors that live in poverty and desolation in Israel. We need to see to it that the money reaches those who helped establish the state,” he says.