Daphni Leef

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Daphni Leef
דפני ליף
2012 07 05 Daphni Leef.jpg
Daphni Leef, 2012
Born (1986-01-07) January 7, 1986 (age 28)
Jerusalem, Israel
Residence Tel Aviv, Israel
Nationality Israeli
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater Tel Aviv University
Occupation Video editor
Known for Her involvement in initiating and in the leadership of the 2011 housing protests in Israel

Daphni Leef (Hebrew: דפני ליף; born January 7, 1986) is an Israeli social activist, video artist, and editor. In July 2011 she was one of the organizers of a tent camp in central Tel Aviv,[1] sparking the 2011 housing protests in Israel.


Daphni Naomi Leef is the daughter of the Israeli composer Inam Leef, and the great-granddaughter of the Israeli engineer Zalman Leef.[citation needed] Leef was born in Jerusalem and raised in the Rehavia neighborhood of the city. She attended Gymnasia Rehavia junior high. In 2002, at age 16, she moved with her family to Kfar Shmaryahu, a local council within the Tel Aviv District ranked very highly on the Israeli socio-economic scale.[2] During her high school period Leef majored in Film Studies at a high school in Ramat Hasharon.

In September 2002 Leef signed a public letter along with dozens of other pre-army-aged youths which declared their refusal to serve in the "army of occupation".[3] Leef did not serve in the IDF, but claimed in an August 2011 interview that she did not serve in the military due to medical reasons.[4][5]

In 2005, after she finished high school, Leef moved to Tel Aviv and began studying in the film department of Tel Aviv University. Leef graduated from the university in 2008. She became a professional video editor and has created many short films,[6] music videos for Israeli singers (such as Eran Tzur, Michal Amdursky and Noam Nevo) and films for various political NGOs, including a short work for the "Free Israel" association ("ישראל חופשית"), which promotes civil marriage in Israel.[7]

2011 protests[edit]

During June 2011 Leef received a notice to vacate the apartment that she had rented in Tel Aviv for the previous three years.[8] After several weeks of searching to no avail for a new apartment within reach of her film-editing job, Leef discovered that the rental prices in the entire Tel Aviv metropolitan area had doubled in the previous five years.[9]

As an act of protest Leef decided to open a Facebook page and ask people to help her in organising a protest. Ten people, among them Stav Shaffir (later to become MK in Israeli Parliament), Regev Contes (filmmaker) and other activists, replied and attended a preparation meeting, in which they decided to pitch tents in Tel Aviv, claiming young people in Israel have no way to pay their rent. Two weeks later, on the 14th of July, they pitched five tents at the Rotschild Boulevard in Tel-Aviv, while police was threatening them against camping in the public sphere without permission. Soon afterward the protests gained momentum[10] as thousands joined the protests, pitching tents in the central streets of cities across Israel.[11][12] sparking off the 2011 Israel housing protests.[13] On 29 August 2011, in the context of allegations of Leef's background and intentions, Leef abruptly ended an interview when asked about not doing mandatory military service or Sherut Leumi, her affluent upbringing, what the Trajtenberg Committee was dealing with, and a question about her lack of presence or if she has even slept in the Tel Aviv tent area. She revealed that she received an exemption from the army for having epilepsy but had volunteered in a children's shelter, and that she had not slept in the Rothschild Boulevard tents the preceding week.[14]

2012 protests[edit]

Dafne Leef at a rally in 2011

At 22 June 2012, Daphne Leef and several other activists tried to restart the housing protests by re-erecting a tent encampment in the Rothschild Boulevard in Tel-Aviv. The municipality had not given a permit and as a result Leef, along with eleven other activists, were arrested when they resisted the 20 policemen and municipal inspectors who arrived to dismantle the tents. The protesters' tents were confiscated by the police forces as well.[15][16][17]


As the housing protests continued, personal criticism of Leef and her political views mounted. Opponents charged that Israeli left-wing media and political organizations were exploiting the demonstrations and economic distress of the Israeli public for political purposes, with the intention of overthrowing the right-wing Netanyahu government.[18][19]

On July 15, 2011, demonstrators drove Likud Knesset member Miri Regev out of the tent encampment. Regev responded by saying that Leef "represents the extreme left."[20] Leef denied this, claiming her protest was first and foremost a social struggle.[20][21] On July 20, 2011, Im Tirtzu announced it would no longer take part in the housing protests because the New Israel Fund and other anti-Zionist left-wing groups were being directly involved. Im Tirtzu said that "Daphni Leef, who is perceived in the media as the initiator of the struggle, is actually a video editor for the New Israel Fund and Shatil."[22] This was also reported in Front Page Magazine.[23]

At a press conference held on July 26, 2011 Leef responded: "What hasn't been said about me in the recent days? When we came here with our tents about ten days ago, some said we are spoiled children from Tel Aviv, some said we are leftists, but after more cities from across the country and as more people from across the entire political spectrum in Israel joined the protests — all understood that we represent all the people."[24]

In an interview with the Israeli radio network Galei Tzahal on August 3, 2011, Leef referred to the "tent representation" group, which seeks to democratically replace the leadership of the housing protest: "It hurts me, things have been said about my character, I hope it would be resolved."[25]

On 3 November 2011, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Leef and partner Stav Shaffir decided to officially establish a fund so that they could fundraise money to pay for the continuing efforts.[26]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ מחאת הפייסבוק שתהפוך את כיכר הבימה בתל אביב לעיר אוהלים - חינוך וחברה - הארץ
  2. ^ http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/local_authorities2005/pdf/509_0267.pdf
  3. ^ Social Protest Leader Leef 'Refused to Serve in IDF'
  4. ^ נענע10 - ליף נשאלה מדוע לא עשתה צבא - ועזבה באמצע ראיון - חדשות
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Daphni Leef - IMDb
  7. ^ מזבלה - בלוג קריאייטיב | דוחסים אותנו למסגרת אחת
  8. ^ "המחאה מתפשטת: אוהלים בבאר שבע ובצפון" [Protest spreads: Tents in Be'er Sheva and North] (in Hebrew). Ynet.co.il. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mass protests and tent cities shake Israeli government". The Irish Times. August 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ דרישה מעיריית ת"א: פנו את המאהל - בארץ - חדשות - ערוץ 7
  11. ^ "מחאת הנדל"ן: שקי שינה בעירייה, אוהלים בכיכר" [Real estate protest: sleeping bags at City Hall, tents in the square] (in Hebrew). Ynet.co.il. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "מחאת הנדל"ן: "נמלא את כל ת"א באוהלים"" [Real estate protest: "filled with all TA in tents"] (in Hebrew). Ynet.co.il. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  13. ^ Efron, Noah (31 July 2011). "The Israeli Summer". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "ליף נשאלה מדוע לא עשתה צבא - ועזבה באמצע ראיון" [Leef asked why she did not do army service - and leaves interview in the middle] (in Hebrew). Channel 10 (Israel). 29 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Moran Azulay (22 June 2012). "TA protest: Police arrest social justice leader Leef". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  16. ^ http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4245902,00.html
  17. ^ צפו: דפני ליף נעצרת במהלך ההפגנה בשדרות רוטשילד - גלובס
  18. ^ חדשות מחלקה ראשונה - News1: מחאת האוהלים: הקול של יעקב והידיים של עשו
  19. ^ חדשות מחלקה ראשונה - News1: מפגיני הדיור - 'אידיוטים מועילים'
  20. ^ a b ישראל היום
  21. ^ נענע10 - נתניהו על מחאת הנדלן: הממשלה עושה דברים לתיקון הנגע - חדשות
  22. ^ הקשר בין הקרן החדשה למאהל המחאה - בארץ - חדשות - ערוץ 7
  23. ^ Soros-Manufactured Chaos in Israel
  24. ^ חדשות 2 - פרסום ראשון: אריה דרעי סירב להצטרף פומבית למחאת המאהלים
  25. ^ גלי צה"ל און-ליין - כחלון: "המחאה צודקת, צריך להקשיב לה"
  26. ^ "מחאה זה מקצוע" [Demonstrating is a profession] (in Hebrew). Yedioth Ahronoth. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ Doron Braunshtein | The Obsessive Poet | CD Baby
  29. ^ ‫ג'ירפות - סינגל חדש - דפני דפני [רק מוסיקה] - YouTube