Interview with Orit Arfa: Singer, Poet, Political Junky, Visionary, Freedom-Lover, All Purpose Human Being
I ran into Orit Arfa, a passionate, highly motivated young lady while scanning Youtube for some new and exciting Israeli voices. There she was imitating the famous American diva Miley Cyrus and at the same time calling on Diaspora Jews to make Aliya to Israel and help settle the Jewish homeland. I contacted Orit and asked her if she would like to coordinate our efforts on a new music video. While the video remains in its planning stages, I was able to get Orit to answer some questions about her everyday life, the things she’s most passionate about, and her political opinions.
Here’s Orit’s latest Youtube hit: 125,491 views and going….
Before we start, here are links to Orit’s books:
Me: Tell me about yourself: Where do you live? What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Orit: I live in the Tel Aviv area, after having lived in Ariel for a year. I loved being what people called a “settler” (although Ariel is a city within the Israeli consensus). It was a very inspiring and enlightening time in my life. Recently, I received a cool opportunity to relocate to Tel Aviv for a new job, which shall remain top secret for now. (No, it’s not the Mossad).
Me: How did you get involved in Israel Advocacy? Who are some of the individuals that you’ve learned from along the way?
Orit: I wouldn’t say I’m involved in Israel advocacy because I think Israel needs a philosophical revolution to survive and thrive rather than simple arguments. I also think Israel advocacy can often place the “state” over the people of Israel. The state must give its citizens the freedom to thrive. By working so hard to strengthen the “state,” we are in danger of giving it too much power over the lives of the people. I love Ayn Rand and Spinoza, who were huge philosophical influences, and who have also enabled me to develop a pro-Israel outlook grounded in a philosophy of individual freedom. To discover their thought, read a short e-book I wrote comparing them: http://www.amazon.com/Spinoza-Ayn-Rand-Orit-Arfa-ebook/dp/B00ILEEUU8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402081717&sr=1-1&keywords=spinoza+and+ayn+rand
Me: What brought you to the world of pop music and what do you enjoy most about it?
Orit: I think pop music is emblematic of a free society where people can express themselves how they choose and then get audiences to connect with their own thoughts and emotions through the song. I’ve loved pop since I became enamored with Madonna and Michael Jackson when I was 8 years old.
Me: What do you like about Miley Cyrus? Why her and not someone else?
Orit: I like Miley in that she really doesn’t care what people think, or at least that’s how she comes across. She made a transformation from Hanna Montana because it’s what she wanted. I like people who are not afraid to re-invent themselves and break out of society’s convention – I mean, isn’t that what Israel’s doing? Aren’t settlers doing that? I know she may not be a good influence for young girls, but I’m looking at the bigger picture of what she represents – just be who you are, and if people don’t like it, to hell with them. Besides, I like to think I sanctified her.
Me: There are those who are claiming the values of pop music and especially Miley Cyrus don’t correspond to “Jewish” values. What would you tell those people?
Orit: I’m not sure you can really say what “Jewish values” are. People interpret “Jewish” in so many different ways. And I think Judaism has veered off what it was supposed to foster – an intimate connection between an individual and his/her Creator, and that means – an intimate connection with the individual self – the created thing. To know who you are, what you love, what you’re capable of, to realize your potential. I think pop music, and music in general, can inspire us to get in touch with what’s in our heart. That’s Jewish to me. You have to read my novel, The Settler, which actually deals a lot with this question, combining music, politics, philosophy, and a great love story.
Me: What would you tell those who believe Israel is guilty of occupying the Palestinians?
Orit: It’s a complicated question, and I’m not going to slide into “advocacy.” It depends on what you consider “occupy.” There is a limited “military” occupation of the Palestinian Arabs, and to some extent, Jews are under a similar system in Judea and Samaria with limits on where they can build and travel. The Palestinians generally govern themselves, which often leads to the Palestinian occupation of their own people when you consider how corrupt the PA is. I think the situation we have now–with two systems for two supposed peoples, wherein the “who” that governs is more important than the “how” they govern–is problematic, and it’s the result of the Oslo accords. It placed emphasis on” collective” rights as opposed to individual rights and ethical governance. If you’re talking about who owns the land, Jews have every right to live in Judea and Samaria, the Jewish historical heartland that Israel conquered in a war of a self-defense. But I’d like to see more state land privatized.
Me: If you could be Miley Cyrus for a day, what would you do?
Orit: Great question! I’d go to the Temple Mount. Talk about provocation.
Author’s note: to find out more about Orit, the poet, political junky, visionary, freedom lover, and all-purpose human being, visit her site: Orit Arfa (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!)