This interview with Or ly Barlev may be one of SuperShe’s most interesting and provocative yet. It’s not everyday you come across a social activist mother of two, fighting for civil revolution in Israel, who is also spreading a new philosophy on loving your partner(s)…
Kristina flew to Tel Aviv, Israel to interview this rockstar mother, revolutionary, social activist, and polyamorist.
“When it all started, I was a mother. I’m still a mother of two girls, but I was completely tied up in the motherhood career and then the social protests and social justice to Israel started.”
Or ly Barlev was one of 300,000 people back in 2011 who rallied to protest the social injustice, high living costs, and growing middle class issues in Israel. The “march of the million” movement began when tent cities began popping up throughout the country, initially making a statement to the Israeli government of the high rent and housing prices.
Kristina: “So, what’s really happening in Israel?”
Barlev: “Here in Israel, we got to take to the streets, a half-million people out of 8 million total! When I started to see something going on, I took my girls, and my tent into the center of Tel Aviv.”
She emphasizes that she never once closed her tent – implying that this was just the beginning of the protests, her involvement, and openness to revolutionize an entire generation.
“It has been 5 years since then, not only a revolution in my life, but a revolution in Israeli society.”
Or ly has become the face of this social revolution, taking part in protests of up to 30,000 Israeli people fighting for social justice, fair living costs, and a say in where their resources are going.
“In 2013, there was the first big fight. The government was going to decide that the gas should be exported. We said, wait a minute, you can’t export gas without checking with how much we need!”
The battle continues. Over the past two years, people from the north and the south joined Or ly in the protests.
“Every Saturday was like fire. People coming and rising up to say, ‘Stop! A deal with the gas companies doesn’t meet the public interest.’ We feel like a third world country, it’s a global fight.”
So how did Or ly make the shift from mother to revolutionary?
She saw the chance to make a change to the global dilemma of overbearing corporate and government power, and it happened to be just outside her door.
“The big corporations, they come to a country and if they see something that is valuable to them, they want to use it as their best interest. We want every decision to be apart of the Israeli interest.”
Or ly’s impact has affected the Israeli government’s attempt to provide solutions to these problems. Israel’s unemployment rate has declined over the past few years and wages have increased by about 10 percent, and is expected to increase it by another 15 percent by the end of 2017. (Brookings)
“The thing that really made me connected to it was the understanding that we’re going down, not only Israel, but economically – the system is not working. It is possible to stop it and change it. If anyone can do it, it’s us. By us, I mean the public.”
We asked Or ly what advice she could give to other women and other generations.
She lives by Ghandi’s quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“We need to start with ourselves. When you meet people, when you look them in the eyes, you meet their heart, their suffering, their joy …you connect.”
But why risk so much to fight for social justice?
“My girls. Part of the time they are away living with their father, and when I’m not with them, I make the world better for my girls. This is what it is all about. We’re doing it for our children.”
So, how does she manage the fight for social justice while still making a living?
Her answer is simply, “The public.”
Or ly has a crowdfunding project, you can contribute to support her and this mission. She also spends much of her time giving lectures to spread awareness. Since the start of this revolutionary life, she has put all of her own money into it.
“It was bigger than me, I had to do it.”
Previously, Or ly ran a small business, workshops for divorcees, helping others get back on their feet after a split. She realized she could not go back to her old life after the revolution.
“I don’t know why, but I had to keep doing this.”
Spreading the Love
Just when you thought Or ly was doing more than enough for Israeli society and for her daughters, she is also conceptualizing a form of love called polyamory.
Polyamory is essentially an open relationship.
Or ly went on to tell us about this type of relationship and the connections it opens up between lovers.
“An open relationship is a couple that opens up sexually but no love, they do not get involved – the heart is still exclusive.”
I know what you might be thinking, “How can this work without feeling the slightest bit of jealousy towards your partners?” Or ly explains polyamory works differently than a normal relationship.
“Polyamory means lots of love and relationships. You open up not only sexual freedom, but also your heart. It is acceptable and it is working. It takes a lot of communication. When you do it purposefully, you can be in love with one person at more than one time, and be loved by multiple men.”
Ladies, round of applause. Or ly is living and breathing proof that there IS freedom in love.
“You own your body and your soul. When you cross the river of jealousy, you make the new self of you. Which is not jealous but supportive, and miracles happen to the relationship that have been opened up. The glue gets stronger when you cross this river.”
Or ly does preface a life of a polyamorist as a complex one which is not for everyone, especially in the beginning. She admits, it may take a year, months, or maybe even five years to truly know each other at a deeper level.
Or ly ends our conversation with an inspiring outlook on being in a relationship
“I’m a free woman and everyday that I am here is because I chose to, not because I signed an agreement. I’m here because I want to.”
More about Or-ly and the movement orlybarlev.com