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Confession of a Settler


Hey you, what’s new?
Not much, except your new land grab.
That’s why you’re calling? It’s Rosh Hashanah.
I know. So why now, the whole world is against us anyway?

Listen to me: stop whining and come back home to Eretz Yisrael. Let the dogs bark all they want, you hear me, our caravan is moving on. Ever heard of this Arabian proverb: The dogs bark but the caravan moves on? That’s our motto here, and our mojo too. I like it so much, it’s hanging on the wall of our trailer, which is also our command center. Nothing better to illustrate our policy and activity in Judea and Samaria of settling our forefathers’ land, you hear me? I will not be surprised if this old saying is hanging on the walls of the Prime Minister as well. Because more than anything else it sums up our settlement endeavor. The hell with what the world thinks.

But why now?

Here you go again: you have to hit them when they’re down, when the iron is hot. Otherwise, they’ll never learn. Which, come to think of it, is actually a good thing. After all, they’re just Arabs. Look at how they’re going about beheading people left and right. Case in point: our latest announcement, right after we crushed the Hamasniks in Gaza. We give them the whole shebang now: the largest land grab for the biggest settlement in 30 years. How that for a Rosh Hashanah present, I ask you? That’s why now, man, don’t you understand? Everything I have to spell out for you. It always was like that with you. This is not the kibbutz, bro, this is the goddamn Middle East. It is burning; it is exploding! About time you come back home and join the fight, and the fun too, instead of criticizing and asking all these stupid questions.

Wait, don’t hang up. What about the Palestinians who own the land?

They don’t own any land, you idiot, it’s our land. All of it! Read the bible again, instead of the New York Times and Haaretz, it will do you good, believe me. Everything is written there, black on white. No need to go online for it, either. Do you still have the bible there?


Then read, man, read it every day. Not just on the holidays. And I tell you something else, too: this is our revenge and retaliation for the killing of the three teenage brothers from our Yeshiva. Blessed be their memory and their spirits up in heaven. Thankfully, it also brought about that mini war in Gaza. We wanted a bigger one, mind you, an annihilation war, but Netanyahu was running scared. So now he pays for it with this new settlement. But don’t get me wrong man: there is a grand old plan here.

What plan?

Greater Israel. Ever heard of it? From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Jabotinsky is dancing the hora in his grave as we speak. It’s all in the pudding, man, the way you say it over there in America. We make it impossible for your president and what’s his name, the tall Don Quixote guy?

John Kerry.

Right. They can’t even think again of the Two-State solution. Gone, baby, gone. Kaput. Dead in the Dead Sea. So who’s going to stop us? President Obama, don’t make me laugh. He tried, didn’t he? But he’s afraid of AIPAC, and too occupied with all the other problems – ISIS or ISIL, you name it – that’s on his plate now. Don’t you see his black hair turning white? Netanyahu is a much better politician, you know, and even more popular in the American Congress. We’re sending him there pretty soon to fix things.

But condemnation are coming from Europe, too, don’t you–

So what? Let the dogs bark, told you that already. Are you deaf or something? You’re getting old fast there in the diaspora, man. Come breathe the fresh air of the rolling Judean hills, it will make you young again. And consider this, too: Did they ever really stop us settlers from doing God’s work? Of course not. We showed them the middle finger, the way we did with the latest peace negotiations. Who killed it, you ask? We did! So what if the Europeans condemn us and demand a reversal of the decision. F*ck them. It will never happen. Let them deal with the rise of anti-Semitism in their countries. Which we, of course, have nothing to do with. Let them boycott us all they want. It helps our cause.

How come?

Come here, my friend, and you’ll see for yourself. I hear more French now than English, almost more than Hebrew even. This new large settlement we’re going to build, it’s for all the Jewish people running away from France and making Aliya. We need to house them, man, we need to feed them. So you Jews in American, send us your money and shut up. And know this, too: the more anti-Semitism there in the old country, the more Jews we have here in the Holy Land. Simple as milk and honey. So let them bark to their heart content – we will continue to build and settle. Our caravan is moving on.

I hear you. But where to?

To the Promised Land, man, where else. When are you going to grow up? I’m losing hope of ever seeing you again. Remember the old song, “We’re both from the same Village?” Naomi Shemer, our national poet, remember her? So make a bonfire, why don’t you, and sing it the way we used to back then in the army. It will do you good!

Okay, I will. But aren’t you already there, in the Promised Land?

Not yet, man, not yet. Way to go. We will stop moving only when the whole of Judea and Samaria is settled by Jews. When that job is done, we’ll throw out all these Arabs who are now building our settlements to the other side of the Jordan River. Those who choose to stay will continue to do the dirty work for us, while we’re busy studying the Torah, and our wives are busy giving birth to the multitude of Jews who shall inherit the land. Only then the Messiah will come.

But aren’t you afraid of hitting the abyss suddenly with your caravan?

I’m not afraid of anything, and our caravan is in no danger of hitting the abyss anytime soon. God is on our side, don’t you see? He will tell us when to stop, just the way he tells us not to stop right now. Not to listen to all the goyim, or people like you, self-hating Jews. This is our land, man, he gave it to us in the bible. We’re just reclaiming it, that’s all. Screw the Europeans, what do they know anyhow, except giving home to all those Muslim infidels who now threaten not only the Middle East, but all their beautiful cultural cities: London, Berlin, and Paris. Soon they will have Muslim majority there. So they can bark all they want; we know they cannot bite. We are moving on. So have a good year, my friend, and say hi to the wife and kids. I’m hanging up. Shana Tova!

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.” ** The “Leave a comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

Tunnel Vision



Tunnel vision, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as “a condition in which there is a major loss of peripheral vision; also, one in which anything away from the center of one’s field of view escapes attention; also, inability to see more than a single or limited point of view.” All of the above also define, according to my view, what Israel and Hamas are sharing not only in their semi-annual semi-wars in Gaza – and their semi cease-fire, too, declared as a victory by both sides – but in their political outlook, policy and action as regard to the Israeli-Palestine conflict at large.

Let me explain: As for Hamas, it is a somewhat easier case to understand. They see everything through the barrel of the gun, the launch apparatus of the rocket, or through the tunnels they had built with so much effort and money, now all but destroyed. Since they are still under occupation, according to their definition – even though Israel has left Gaza in 2005 – they declared an arm struggle of resistance against the “Zionist regime.” It was in Gaza, in 2000, that a jubilant crowd received Yasser Arafat as the great hero – I believe the chanting was hailing him as the new Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn – when he returned from Camp David, where he refused to sign a most generous peace deal with Israel, under then president Clinton’s auspices. Had he chosen otherwise, Arafat; had Hamas chosen a civil, non-violence struggle, it is more likely than not that they would have had by now an independent Palestinian state. Or, at the very least, would have been much closer to such a state.

Mahmoud Abbas came to the realization of this saner, wider point of view some years ago, and began a process of non-violence engagement and peace-negotiations with Israel, and belatedly even brought Hamas into the process of building a unity government. But the occupation, and settlement building continued. Israel and Netanyahu’s inability to see the peripheral view and larger picture, took over for good following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Sadat, Rabin – even Sharon, to a degree – paid dearly with their lives for bringing, or for trying to bring peace to their people. But not Netanyahu, too clever, too calculated and too careful for that. He doesn’t lack guts; what he lacks is a wider, larger field of vision. He has, as the leader of a state among the nations – not a terrorist organization, mind you, or a liberation force – a severe case of tunnel vision.

It is because of this impaired condition that he is unable to see where the continuous rule over other people leads his own people; where the continued occupation and building of settlements lead his nation; where the choice of war over peace leads the Jewish people as a whole. Not only was he responsible, mostly, for the collapse of the latest round of peace-negotiations; not only he did not come through on the agreement to release the last group of Palestinian prisoners – which as a condition for the start of the peace negotiations he much preferred over putting a stop to the settlement project of “greater Israel” – but following the collapse of said negotiations, when the Palestinians, PLO and Hamas announced their unity government; the best opportunity, as Europe and America well understood, for a good result to come out of a bad situation, he torpedoed it immediately. He sew it – still does, actually – only through the crosshair of the gun, or of an army telescope. In short: through his tunnel vision. He got the peace process destroyed, but was left with his tunnel vision intact.

In his insightful op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times during the early stages of this latest Gaza war, writer Etgar Keret had mentioned a meeting that was held with PM Netanyahu about two years ago: “I interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the interview, I asked him what he was doing to resolve the Middle East conflict. Netanyahu answered at length, discussing the Iranian threat and the instability of other governments in the region. But when I insisted, almost childishly, in getting an answer to my original question, he admitted that he wasn’t doing anything to resolve the conflict because the conflict was unresolvable.”

It’s no wonder then that a leader who has decided that the conflict is “unresolvable,” has also decided for quite some time now that peace is unachievable, and he’d better stick to his guns; i.e. to the “status quo.” Therefore, he had rejected any genuine offer for peace: from the Arab League of nations, from the Palestinians and from the Americans. His response to Abbas’ announcement that a unity reconciliation agreement is in the works between the PLO and Hamas was not surprising, then: he didn’t even give this baby a chance to grow, see if it could walk properly – renounce terrorism, for instance, and recognize Israel – but threw it out of the bathtub with the water. Hence the latest war, and hence his responsibility for it.

The Iron Dome, fantastic as it is in shielding Israel from the raining Hamas’ rockets, will protect you only so much, and for only so long. It may give you an edge, but not a victory, and can be used as metaphor for the current situation. As did Uri Misgav, when he wrote so poignantly in Haaretz at the first days of “Operation Protective Edge:” “It doesn’t appear in the technical specifications, but Iron Dome does not intercept only missiles. Apparently it intercepts free thought as well. It dooms its users to blindness, deafness and dementia. Has anyone asked himself how and why the present round of escalation began? Who escalated it? Whom and what does it serve? Why are rockets suddenly falling out of the sky?”

It makes one desperate, almost, to think that the Israeli leadership, and maybe its people as well, have all but given up on peace, whether as a viable option or as a desired outcome. Because, quite clearly, in this Middle East neighborhood, in the absence of peace – there is war. And if the occupation continues – there is war. And if the establishment of a greater, mighty Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea continues – there is no Jewish and democratic state. Only one or the other. And that, asides from being very sad and tragic, seals the fate of the nation and confirms for many generations to come the old biblical parable: “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.”                                                                      ** “Leave a comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.


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