In the last two weeks, OneVoice Israel activists set up stalls in Carmel Market in Tel Aviv and the Old City of Beer Sheva and unloaded giant checks marked with $1,175 with the “pay to the order of” line left blank. This is not a prize giveaway, and no one has won anything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: $1,175 is the amount that the conflict costs every Israeli man, woman, and child each year.
This check initiative is part of OVI’s “Peace, It Also Pays Off” campaign, which asks middle class Israelis to consider how they would instead spend that money. Passersby from a variety of backgrounds enthusiastically signed their names and indicated what they would rather use that money for—tuition, rent, or other expenses. They all agreed that the conflict needs to end and that the money used to prolong it is better spent inside the Green Line.
While the amount itself may not seem that high at first blush, $1,175 is equal to one month’s rent or one semester of university tuition, which makes a difference to the working class in light of a growing poverty rate, a housing crisis, and other neglected social justice issues, meaning every penny counts. “Peace, It Also Pays Off” launched on April 2 and is a multi-platform campaign that also includes bus stop ads; a billboard on Ayalon Highway viewed of 660,000 drivers every day; and an extensive social media “hub on Facebook with infographics about the precise cost of the conflict, based on data from some of the most respected research institutions in Israel, including Netanya College, the Molad Center, and the Adva Center.