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Despite the political talk of unity, it is clear that there are significant, unbridgable gulfs between the pioneering settlers and, let's say the Tel Avivians as an example.
Generally speaking, non-observant Jews of the Left refer to the settlers pejoratively as "fanatics" or "zealots". The Settlers on the other hand, often view the Left as empty of higher ideals and dedicated to self-serving pleasure with little commitment to very much that is spiritual or with Jewish content. This may be because of the secular tilt to education as the curriculum has been set by the Left since the founding of the State.
The average day in the life of a Settler is quite different in many respects, other than going to work. One significant difference is that an observant Jew prays three times a day, says a blessing for many of life's daily acts such as eating, dressing in new clothes, and exhibits a respect for what HaShem provides through nature, etc. These acts of blessing what comes from G-d is considered by the non-observant as primitive and useless ritual. Why bless an apple before taking a bite? Why offer a blessing after performing certain bodily needs, thanking G-d that you are able to function?
What they cannot grasp is that we humans are exceptionally fallible and need constant reminders to behave in a highly civilized fashion. Therefore, the morning prayers, for example, speak about being ethical, moral, ignoring the temptations of the flesh and the pocket. In effect, each day we are reminded to be honorable and to teach our children higher values. Generally, you will not see kids from the settlements with green hair, pierced body parts, or tatoos.
It's not that there are no honorable people in Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc because there are and I am proud to know many of them. It's just that most have been brain-washed to transfer their fear of Terrorist attacks onto the Settlers - as if the Settlers are responsible for the teachings of Islam that mandate these murderous attacks for Allah. Strangely, these non-observant Jews exhibit a certain respect for other religions but, little for their own. These non-observant Jews are also not interested in keeping the Land of Israel whole, secure and sovereign. They don't seem to know the two go together.
For them, if there were no Settlers or Settlement, the Arab Muslim Palestinians would have the land they claim and their Terrorist acts would back off to a 'tolerable' level. The occasional suicide bomber blowing up a café or a wedding party at a hotel would just be an irritating but acceptable momentary shock which would wear off in a day or a week. They wouldn't consider the reality that the Terrorists are fighting for Islam to dominate the world and plan to continue until they have taken over ALL of the Land of Israel...because this is what they promise to do. The Settlers and the Settlements have been Israel's first line of active defense, a buffer, the red line, the warning signal, the canary in the coal mine.
But, to the city folk, particularly of the Left, the Settlers are an uncomfortable mirror to many who consider themselves free of any religious burden and do not have to subject their consciences to a Higher Authority, other than the laws of the government. For them there is no Higher Authority through which they must filter what they do in their daily lives.
There was a time when the whole nation admired the Settlers because they were a front line trip wire to stop incoming Terrorists or even full scale war from any coalition of surrounding Arab Muslim States. They knew that the Settlers volunteered at a disproportionate rate to join the military. Their officers and men seemed more motivated to face the enemy and not break and run. Even the General Staff had to admit that their observant Jews in tanks had a better staying power than others.
This was a revealing mirror into which the non-observant, usually the Left, simply did want to look. Who wants to have themselves compared to people who pray to be ethical and help their neighbors - even the Leftists should the need arise? So their next step was to demonize the Settlers as "religious fanatics", "extremists" and all around terrible folk. While the Leftists condemn observant Jews as "religious fanatics", they would not dare speak of church-going Christians or even the "peaceful" Muslims in the same way. They refuse to grasp the fact that the mere existence of Jews, be they Settlers or the most radical Leftists is a provocation to the Muslims. Come to think of it, Adolph Hitler also considered any Jew a provocation.
The Left acts as if they believe that these hard working farmers, among other trades, who made the sandy desert bloom are a provocation to the Arab Muslim Palestinians who would otherwise be friendly, peaceful and no enemy to a non-Muslim State. The Left are quick to praise any effort to eject Settlers from the Land and their homes, hoping that this "gesture" will bring them a respite of Terror attacks - which, of course, it doesn't.
As the Leftists quickly forget each suicide bombing attack, they also forget the killing of Jews by Arabs long before there was a proclaimed Jewish nation in 1948. They forgot the proclamation of Hadj Amin al Husseini in 1929, that the Jews were going to attack the Al Aksa Mosque built on the Temple Mount of Solomon's Temple and, therefore, the Muslims must rise up and massacre the Jews. The result in Hebron alone was 69 Jews murdered. Not surprisingly, just the other day, a Mullah in Gaza claimed the same thing, urging the masses of Muslim to rise up against the Jews in the name of Allah to save al Aksa.
When Israel's Prime Minister Sharon fulfilled the wishes of the Left and evacuated Gaza/Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, so there would be peace - the very next day the Arab Muslims burned and looted the Jewish synagogues in a wild frenzy and then fired over 46 Qassam Rockets into Israel. The Left fell silent for a moment - just as they did when the Oslo Accords failed and so many Jews were murdered. Since Oslo was signed September 13, 1993 on the White House lawn, more than 1700 Jews (including some 48 Americans) have been murdered, with tens of thousands injured - many maimed for life. Indeed, the non-observant Left are definitely a breed apart from nationalistic Jews of the Right, particularly the Settlers.
The Settlers are a unique breed of Jews, more like the early courageous Jews who came to Israel to farm arid land, drain swamps and build a nation. Later, the Settlers retained that credo while the Left became apologists for the Arabs, thinking that appeasing them would bring them peace. The Left seeded the Army with politically-correct officers who would eventually become Leftist politicians. The Left seeded the Courts with their kind, to the point that from the Supreme Court on down, it was merely a political party, dedicated to a Leftist ideology of acceptable defeat and abandonment of the Land. The Labor Left had one doctrine which was to remain in power and to de-Judaize the nation so it would be like all other gentile nations. That ideology did, indeed, split the nation between those who believed G-d gave them the Land of Israel in perpetuity and those who believed only in themselves and thought that the Land did not belong to the Jews.
Come to visit Israel and wander through the towns and villages that are the so-called Settlements. You will see well-kept homes and streets. Go to their schools and observe the curriculum which does not teach history with a hostile spin against our Jewish heritage. Note the hard-working families who make the land green and alive. Remember there was a time these good folks tried their best to live with Arabs in nearby villages, worked with them, invited them to their celebrations. Then the Oslo Accords, conceived in secret by then PM Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres resurrected Yassir Arafat and the Islamists, motivated them to kill Israelis and to teach their children to hate and kill their Jewish neighbors according to strict Koranic laws.
There is a vast chasm between the coastal Jews who claim to be superior to the Jews in the hills to the East. Some will recall Abraham's offer to Lot as to where each would settle. Lot chose the then fertile valleys of Sodom where life was easier although decadent. Abraham chose the harder life of the hill country. The Sodomites sank lower, immersing themselves in the easy life, corruption and also abomination. Homosexuality was common in Sodom, not the exception.
Eventually G-d sent his emissaries to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. But, even then, Abraham, the First Jewish Settler, interceded and tried to stop the destruction. G-d agreed to Abraham's plea that even if there were only 10 good honest men, Sodom would be spared. When they could not - well, you know the rest.
Hopefully, this will not happen again to the Jews of the low lying coastal cities who may once again adopt the Jews of the Hills and the Settlements as their true brothers and sisters and adopt a credo of a higher plain of life on which to live that gives thanks to G-d.
May it come soon, and swiftly, and in our time.
Emanuel Winston is a commentator and Middle East analyst. His articles appear often on Think-Israel and Gamla. He is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies (http://www.freeman.org/online.htm). Contact him at email@example.com
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