A punk and hardcore music scene often emerges from a place of discontent with the state. Israel is one of these places, where discontent is a part of daily life. The punk scene in Tel Aviv started getting roots in the 80s and kept on evolving as a form of activism and resistance. Many of the younger generation in Israel are against or disagrees with the state’s political views and actions in the conflict with Palestine. This disconnection to their leaders led to a politicalized group of teen and youth coming together in bands, collectives and venues where they could play their music. It started with a small group but evolved to become a subculture that still lives in Tel Aviv.
Zina explains that the 90s felt like the high point of the scene. There where lots of squatting, demonstrations and she lived in an occupied house with other youths. People used punk as an instrument to show a political standpoint and criticize the state, as is being done in most punk and underground scenes around the world. Today, there are less and less of this political activity and she understands why people lose the hope for change. The Israeli state is stronger than ever and the hope that anyone is listening is staring to fade. Many find it hopeless to work with political activities like demonstrations and campaigns.
In Israel, mandatory military service for three years is a big part of the scene. This means that teens between 18-21 must fight for their country, no choices. How this has affected the scene and its evolution over the years, is crucial. People form bands in their teens but has to break them up for military service. The effect is a big turnover on bands. Some give up, few continues after service, this keeps the scene purely youth driven. The objections towards being a punk or different in the Holy Land has also been a factor and the affect it could have on one’s prospects plays a role. It can be balancing act and many youths drops out of the scene in fear of the consequences.
Today the scene revolves around a small amount of venues, two of these are; Zimmer and Koro. Zimmer is a more underground DIY, bohemian place. They arrange after school activities for refugee kids and have some punk shows in the weekends. But the “Call for Boycott” movement has a bittersweet effect on the scene. Bands from around the world take political standpoint on not traveling or supporting Israel, which effects even the small underground scene like this. On the flipside, this has made the scene purely DYI and created bands that are unique for the region.