Gaming The System
Israeli students design old-school video game to protest ultra-Orthodox benefits
Any young Israeli is likely, at some point, to feel as if his life was a hectic video game: You spend mornings at the university, afternoons and nights at some part-time job, struggling to pay tuition and the rent and the bills. Then, when it’s least convenient, the army calls, and you go away for a month or two of reserve duty each year, only to return to school, exhausted and broke, for your final exams. It’s a highly demanding routine, and one that offers little relief: Israel offers virtually no student loans, universities have very few dorm rooms available, and the price of everything, from apartments to gas, just keeps climbing up.
If, however the young Israeli in question is ultra-Orthodox, life’s a very different game: Most haredis don’t work or serve in the army, and even though they usually live in abject poverty, most receive generous support from the state’s welfare authorities.
To protest this fundamentally unfair situation, two young secular Israelis, Nimrod Dado and Nitzan Gelbard, decided to create a bit of animation, imagining life in Israel as an 8-bit homage to Super Mario, with secular and Orthodox players instead of Italian plumbers. Presented here without commentary: