I Am A Settler

I am. I live in a city that is “over the green line.” The green line refers to a line on a map that existed for 19 years after war was waged against us by five Arab nations. Their goal was to destroy the Jewish State before it every really got started. They failed. They lost. They whined…and the world and the leftists and the blind believe that they should get a second chance…and they did.

In 1956, when they attacked again they had their second chance. And in 1967 a third chance, when they began a march towards war by closing the Straits of Tiran and mobilizing their armies to our borders. They took another chance in 1973 when they waged war against us on the holiest day of the Jewish year and almost yearly, even monthly, and sometimes daily, they have been attempting to do what they failed to do in 1948.

The goals of the Palestinians have not changed – only the method and the gullibility of too many Israelis who are so desperate to end this conflict that they have become delusional. You delude yourself, endanger all of Israel, when you think that this is about the settlements. It never was…not even from the first moment the war in 1967 ended, not before the war and never since.

I am a settler. I say it with pride. I say it with honesty. That is the only difference between us – the honesty and the pride. I have chosen to live in a beautiful city that borders Jerusalem on the east. If I lived 5 kilometers to the west instead of 5 kilometers to the east, apparently all would be right with the world because ultimately, the existence of a few hundred thousand people that have been born or moved to these areas after 1967 is the reason why there was no peace here in 1950 and 1960.

It was, apparently, even the reason why the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964…they just knew, those forward thinking Palestinians – that we were going to “occupy” the West Bank and Gaza three years forward. Yeah, that must be it.

If I were to tell you that as a Jew, I am not well understood by much of the world, I can also tell you that as a settler, I am an enigma even to many of my own people, even to many Israelis. The very day I came to Israel, more than 21 years ago, I became a settler – straight from the airport, I moved to a beautiful village that was 3 kilometers to the east of a mythical line that ceased to exist more than 45 years ago.

For the first 8 years, I lived in a small village perched on the side of one high hill, down across a dry river bed, and up the side of the next hill. There was a country club with a large pool for adults and older children and a shallow pool for the younger kids. There were three synagogues, a mini-market, a pizza shop, a bookstore, and even, for a while, a hair cutter. While bombs went off in Tel Aviv, my small village was quiet and peaceful.

When I first moved to Israel in 1993, Yitzchak Rabin was the Prime Minister and it was just months after the ill-advised Oslo Accords were signed. It was after the first Intifada and before the second one. It was after the First Gulf War, and before the second. It was after the First Lebanon War, and before the second.

But most important, it was before the war on settlers was waged by the Israeli government, before unilateral actions were made. Before self-righteous leftists took to the Internet to divide Israel and defend the poor Palestinians, their rockets, firebombs, and knives.

Part of Rabin’s so-called drive for peace was based on spearheading a movement against the settlers. This has become a holy war for many, as misguided and intolerant as the Crusades, Inquisitions and Jihad of our true enemies.

If Rabin failed in achieving peace in his lifetime (which he did), he most definitely succeeded in his war against the settlers. We were the root of all evil, in Rabin’s eyes.

“They intimidate and harass us,” Rabin said of the settlers, “they complain constantly, and some of them have not even served in the IDF (Israeli Army)” That was, and is, among the worst things you can say to an Israeli – and Rabin did not hesitate to say it, even if he wasn’t being truthful. He even called us “parasites” and I remember him saying that he did not care about “the settlers.”

Some think Rabin’s greatest success was his peace efforts. And while he did manage to sign the Jordan-Israel peace agreement, I think his greatest achievement was in dividing the people of Israel – allowing the world to think not of all of us as Israelis, but rather as Israelis and settlers.

Because of Rabin, CNN would later excuse the murders of women and children because of where they were killed. Two settlers were killed; versus a mother and 13-year-old child were murdered, CNN would report. What had they done, but ride in a car or wait for a bus?

We lived here through the Second Intifada when bombs exploded regularly in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya – and in the settlements where I lived, it was quiet and peaceful. Oh yes, the Arabs were targeting the settlers – only the settlers of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Kfar Sava and Haifa refused to understand that.

How quick the media was to report that the kidnapped boys this summer were “settlers” – when really, only one lived over that silly green line. And did it make a difference? Were the Palestinian killers really going after settlers – or Israeli children? Would you call Baruch Mizrachi a settler? The people or Nir-Am who live so close to the Gaza border and were attacked with mortars, infiltrations, tunnels?

So, today the world accepts and labels me as a settler. But what does that mean? Really? Most don’t have a clue. Certainly a fair amount of bloggers and media have no clue. And so, I want to explain what life is like as a  settler. 

Just like you, I wake in the morning and send my children off to school. I live in such a beautiful city today – full of trees and flowers. Most of my children are now grown and married – I even have two grandchildren. They are so beautiful. One is three years old and understands two languages and two alphabets. The other is just a year old and she’s already running around. And already, people would label these angels of my life as “obstacles to peace.”

What peace? None, of course. Was the war this summer about the settlements? What stupidity! Did they fire rockets at settlements this summer? Actually they did – only those settlements have names such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Modiin, Shderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

As for Rabin’s ridiculous suggestions that settlers are parasites, that has long been proven inaccurate – “settlers” pay plenty in taxes and serve in the highest levels in the army. Their children, our sons and daughters are as likely, and often more likely, to serve in elite combat units.

My oldest two sons have served  – both in combat units; my two nephews have served – both in elite units. My son-in-law has served; my youngest son is about to become a soldier in just over a month – all settlers – 100% went or will be going in to the army. 100%. We are not parasites. Two of my sons regularly volunteer for Magen David Adom; one is training to be an ambulance driver and the other is a volunteer in Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. My husband volunteers for the police department. Parasites? Not my family.

We are not obstacles to peace any more than Tel Aviv or Haifa is an obstacle and it is Ashkelon and Ashdod and Shderot they regularly attack, not my home. My youngest daughter was born a “settler” – she is petite, so sweet. She’s never harmed anyone, never done anything but play and run, laugh, and cuddle with her family. Obstacle to peace? Ridiculous – how can a child be an obstacle to anything?

Despite decades of attacks, of attempts to negotiate peace settlements and ridiculous unilateral actions that only made the security situation even worse, we are no closer to peace today than we were in 1966, before the so-called occupation, before Oslo and Wye, before we evacuated Gush Katif, Northern Shomron, and Migron.

And still, we are not understood, still we are referred to as settlers. It is a means of dismissing us, separating us, making us different. After working with a company for four years, the product manager and I had a discussion. He knew where I lived; as I knew where he lived.

He spoke of “them” and I asked him who “they” are. Them, he answered, the ones who live in Beit Haggai, Ofra, and Otniel. “Not you,” he assured me. “I have nothing in common with them.”

“But I am them,” I answered him. “I am exactly like them – and you have everything in common with them, and with me. We share a language, a culture, a religion, a nationality. We share a history and a future. I am them, and they are me.”

When…when will you see the greatest truth of all? It is not the settlers who have blocked peace; it is not the settlers who drive this country towards war and division, towards weakness and danger.

A settler is an Israeli and all Israelis are settlers – even the Arabs know this. Whether they live in Tel Aviv or Tekoa; Maale HaHamisha or Maale Adumim, Mitzpe Ramon or Mitzpe Yericho – you can talk till you are blue in the face and still in the eyes of everyone but you…YOU are a settler…just like me.

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