Meet Me in a Minute (Special Edition): Boaz Shields

By Breana Brill

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Editors’ Note: This is the third in a series of features Niles West immigrants in celebration of International Weeks.

It’s the late ’90s, and a toddler, Boaz Shields, is running naked on the beaches of Tel Aviv, Israel.

“It was hot and always sunny,” Shields said, who was born in Tel Aviv, Israel back in May 1996. He lived there for two years before residing in Jerusalem for the next three years.

Shields grew up as a middle child in a family of two older brothers and one  younger brother, who were also born in Israel. Oren, who’s 32 and David who’s 20, both  live in Israel, while Shields and his younger brother Yaniv live here in Skokie. His older brother, David, went to high school here at Niles West, but later moved back to Israel to join the military. Although Israel is a 12-hour plane ride away, Shields maintains a great relationship with his brother, but probably won’t follow in his military path.

“I think it’s really cool he’s in the military, but I just wouldn’t want to have to go through all that,” Shields said.

One of the main reasons the Shields family moved to America was because of the requirement in Israel for 18-year-olds to join the military for a minimum of two years.

“My dad was in the army until he was 44, and he didn’t want that life for us,” he said. So they moved to America when Shields was around five years old to avoid that requirement. Even though Shields loves it here, he sometimes wishes that his family still lived in Israel. He remembers the environment of Israel being “…a lot more laid back…”

“Everyone hears how it’s all bombings and fighting,” he said. “But I remember just running around naked at the beach every day… Every once in awhile I’ll see some conspiracy theorist on Facebook saying Israel is the real terrorists or they’re really bad, and it kind of bothers me because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

There are a lot of misconceptions between the Israel that the media talks about and the Israel Shields remembers. All these headlines about bombings and conflicts in Israel isn’t the country that Shields wants the public to see.

“It really seems like Israel is just trying to hold on to what they have and keep peace in the Middle East, although it may be hard to realize with all the fighting,” Shields said.

This summer, Shields and his family are going to Israel because David and his fiance are getting married.

“I’m beyond excited. And according to his fiance, girls there LOVE Americans,” Shields, a ladies man, said.

Besides Israel being a lot more laid back then America, Shields also noticed a difference between the girls that live in Israel.

“The women there are a lot tougher. When my brother visited, he brought his fiance with and at first she was really quiet and shy, but when she got comfortable she wasn’t afraid to make fun of us or herself,” he said.

Israel will always be a very meaningful place to Shields. Even if he only lived there for the first few years of his life, the country and culture will still stay a huge part of his life.

“I wouldn’t want to live there, but I could definitely see myself visiting, like, every summer and bringing my family to show them how I grew up,” Shields said.


Fun Fact: According to HubPages, “Israel is roughly half the size of Lake Michigan.”


8 Responses to “Meet Me in a Minute (Special Edition): Boaz Shields”

  1. alumni on February 6th, 2013 6:31 pm

    lol those “conspiracy” theories are true. don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being israeli, there is definitely something wrong with believing that Jews are entitled to land that belongs to someone else, displacing the people who used to live there so you can instead, and calling yourself a zionist. it’s the south african apartheid all over again. look at the stats and then tell yourself that israel is trying to get to peace.


  2. Philliums on February 6th, 2013 9:29 pm

    I don’t think the comment by “alumni” is at all appropriate for this article. The article is not talking about an international or geo-political conflict. The article is discussing life in two different countries and the similarities and contrasts between them. So, lets please keep this relevant.


    alumni Reply:

    Actually the topic was brought up in this article. so it is pretty relevant. Silencing opinions and issues of human rights is not very productive either, “Philliums”.


    Galina Velgach Reply:

    Ok but the over-arching theme is the differences between Israel and America, the issues of the disputed territory or human rights weren’t brought up. Boaz was simply saying that the Israel in the media and the one he knows are very different. And I don’t think that “Philliums” was being mean, so no need to get snarky, he’s not ‘silencing’ you.
    Tel Aviv beach is beautiful, he’s just remembering a good side of Israel.


    Philliums Reply:

    If talking about issues of human rights between Israel and Palestine, it would be historically (and politically) incorrect to portray the conflict as one between a malevolent oppressor and the benevolent oppressed, which is what you have done in the first post. It is a low blow and it is ignorant of historical relations. Also, at no point in the article did it say that the interviewee saw himself as a Zionist and claimed righteous ownership over Israel. As an admirer of history and debates, while taking no side in the present conflict, I, and certainly others, disapprove of your highly biased first post.


    alumni Reply:

    I think you all should read my initial comment and see if i attacked the boy in the article at all. I was just correcting an incorrect statement in the article. I realize that Boaz wouldn’t be able to see the oppression taking place until he would step into the Palestinian territories.
    So please understand that it was only through good intention that I commented. And with regards to your “oppression” argument, I think you’re forgetting that the Palestinians do not have the advanced technology and weaponry that Israel is using.
    Occupation is illegal and a strict violation of the Geneva Conventions. Again, no attack has been made against Boaz Shields.

  3. alum on February 20th, 2013 6:57 pm

    I don’t think David is engaged


  4. anonymous on February 23rd, 2013 12:40 pm

    Wouldn’t his brother know over you whether or not David is engaged?


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