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Girls at War

How a group of teenage believers could reshape the Israeli-Palestinian struggle

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A generation of girls in and around a small West Bank school have become active participants in the radical politics of the settlements. (Gillian Laub)

I.

“Ulpana High school, Where settler girls go to become ‘real men’ ”

That was the headline I read. You think of settler girls and you think “Little House on the Prairie” or the Jewish equivalent of the Girls Madrassas I’ve been to in Pakistan: Learn your religion, learn how to be a good wife, then have 10 children. But the girls in this story were getting all that and a little extra. Instead of afterschool sports they did afterschool fight-the-state. When civil administrators showed up to enforce a settlement building freeze, the girls blocked the road, whipped mud at them, sat on their jeeps. When 100 riot police showed up, the girls lay down on the wet road, climbed into garbage bins, and hurled trash. Only after a 5-hour battle were the administrators able to deliver their pieces of official paper—building-freeze orders.

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The article was from 2009, but I wanted to know more. I called Rav Gadi Ben Zimra, the founder of the school, and reached him. He passed me to his wife, Nurit, the co-founder. She passed me to a neighbor involved with the school who spoke better English—and who could vet me. Her name was Mina Browdy and she told me that she was thrilled that we wanted to come do a piece on their school, meet Gadi and Nurit, hang out with the girls. And of course we could stay there. Ten days? Wonderful. I booked a ticket, as did my friend, the photographer Gillian Laub.

Then two days before the flight, Mina emailed me:

Shalom Elizabeth,

We thank you for your interest to come and write an article about Ulpanat Levona but we reconsidered the idea and decided not to go along with it.

Thank you! Our beloved teacher Rut Fogel Hy”d was murdered with her husband and three children, a three month old baby that was slaughtered cruelly by the wild animals that some of you think are able to make peace.

All the best
Mina Browdy

We decided to go anyway.

***

Tapuach, red poppies in bloom, a sharp wind. The settlement sits atop a hillside above Highway 60 on the West Bank. Established by Kahanists and Yemenites, Tapuach is now home to an assortment of new Israelis—Kazakhs, Russians, Peruvians. It was the Friday before Purim and Moriya was sitting on a blue couch in the front yard of her family’s ranch house across from the town playground, painting her fingernails purple. A few years ago, Gillian had met Moriya, who of course knew of Ma’ale Levona. Her younger sister Roni was a student there. Moriya had been too homesick to stick it out—Ma’ale Levona is a boarding school—but she considers herself almost an honorary graduate. Her Facebook friends are nearly all Ma’ale Levona girls.

Moriya, who is 19, was wearing blue balloon pants, a turquoise-and-silver nose ring, and a silver Star of David around her neck emblazoned with Meir Kahane’s famous emblem—a thumb rising out of a tight fist. Roni is 14. Her nail polish was blue, and she was wearing a Snoopy T-shirt and a wooden pendant etched with the Hebrew words: “Kahane was right.” They’re fighters, these girls, each in their different way. “We called him after Benjamin Zeev Chai,” said Moriya of her 6-year-old brother. Benjamin Kahane, the son of Meir Kahane who was killed, was her father’s best friend, she said. A lot of her father’s friends were killed, she said, as she handed Benjy a candy. One of them is still in prison for killing a Palestinian.

“I was depressed all this week. I can’t smile,” she said. It had been only seven days since the murder of the Fogel family, who lived down the road. The mother, Ruthi, was Roni’s teacher. As Tamar, the Fogels’ 12-year-old daughter, told reporters, around midnight she came home from a Bnei Akiva youth meeting to find her mother Ruthi lying in a pool of blood and her home the site of a massacre—her mother, father, two younger brothers, and 3-month-old sister all slaughtered with knives. Two of her younger brothers survived.

“This week was crazy,” Moriya told me taking me inside to the living room to see her Facebook page on the family computer. “Look my friend writes: ‘Don’t be sad. Don’t give the thugs what they want.’ ”

Then Roni said that the day after the murder, everyone in Tapuach went down to the junction and threw rocks at Arabs. “We all wanted revenge. We just won’t cry and feel sorry for ourselves. We will do something about it. You know? If someone comes to kill you, then you kill them first, says the Torah.” Tapuach was notorious for “price tag” vengeance—which is nothing new in outlying settlements where Jewish vigilantes have been known to take the law into their hands. What was new to me was the vigorous and organized participation of adolescent girls.

Roni took note of details about the murder, including the fact that her teacher Ruthi had tried to fight off the killers, while her husband appeared more gentle, and died holding the baby in his arms. The murders had hit all the girls hard. The school is a tight-knit place, the faculty and students like an extended family. “My Ulpana is special,” said Roni. Another girl at the house laughed: “Every girl thinks their Ulpana is special,” she said. “Not like Ma’ale Levona,” said Roni cheekily. Her peers at Ofra—a more sober, academically rigorous Ulpana—were “geeks, nerds,” she said, and then laughed in that way only teenage girls can laugh at the Other.

Moriya proudly pulled up a photograph of Roni and the gang at a junction holding up signs against the Israeli army for dismantling an illegal outpost. Then she noticed that one of the girls had posted the Channel 2 news segment on Tamar Fogel. “Oh my god I want to see that. Look: Tamar asks Bibi to free Jonathan Pollard.” The reporter showed a clip of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting Tamar at her grandmother’s home, and exclaiming in his most resonant voice, “We know who the enemy is.”

In the clip, Tamar is seen alternately sobbing into her grandmother’s arms and raging back at Bibi—angry not just at her loss, but at the official hypocrisies. “What will happen if you do something?” she asked the prime minister. “Your America will be angry? America will do something to you?” When the prime minister tells her, “They murder. We build,” she challenged him. Tamar Fogel knew from experience that building can be undone. She and her family were evacuated from Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005; she told the prime minister that he is making a war between brothers. “They’re Obama’s poodle,” scoffed Moriya about her government.

At the end of the clip Moriya and Roni were frozen. They were proud of Tamar. With her resolve, poise, and tragedy, Tamar would undoubtedly become a symbol of their generation’s heroism, and another chapter in the settlers’ self-made biblical narrative.

If I’d had a movie camera, I’d just have you watch and listen to these girls for hours. You’d be fascinated, stupefied, shocked, bored—but you’d keep watching. I want you to see just what I saw, not the facts we’re used to—the ones about the Jews from Queens or Brooklyn or Minneapolis who upped and flew to the calling of Zion. We’ve heard from them enough and we think we know just what they’re going to say. But when they enacted whatever romance of pioneering, frontiering, and longing for collective meaning it was that brought them here, they created facts on the ground. Not houses and trailers; they can be bulldozed. They spawned boys and girls, 10 to each family on average.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” a psychiatrist and playwright from Jerusalem asked me, of such girls. “Pure faith mixed with youth. It’s the most erotic thing.” They are a generation of girls born on the land known as the illegal settlements who did not arrive with ideology and hope like their parents. They just sprouted there.

They say it takes one generation to found a new language. These girls are a new language, believing that they belong to the land on which they were born, and sponsored by the government they despise, which pays for their roads and electricity. I wondered how this new generation will affect the narrative of struggle not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also among Israelis themselves.

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This is a chilling read. What hope for peace?

What’s your point? Sensationalism? The people described in this story represent a miniscule % of both the Israeli population and of people living over the green line.
Let’s tell the whole story; if the Palestinians had accepted the generous offers of a state these little settlements would have been dismantled long ago.

“And the Rabbinate was shouting, ‘Shma Yisrael,’ and other verses, and everybody repeated after her, shouting.” ..I’m assuming “rabbanit” (rabbi’s wife), not “rabbinate,” is what’s meant here.

Matthew Fishbane says:

Gur, you are right. Thanks for pointing it out. We’ve made the correction.

G-d help us. These kids remind me of the Manson family

If Elizabeth Rubin asks “Who was Amalek?” then there is a serious deficiency in her understanding of Jewish tradition (look it up in the Torah and in commentaries on the Book of Esther etc).

That deficiency means she can not really understand what these girls, these people, are about because she does not get their historical roots; roots that permeate traditional Judaism.

@Carl Even if they are a “miniscule %,” they together with slightly less extreme settlers have had influence far beyond their numbers, going back more than 40 years with the establishment of Kiryat Arba.

As for the last part of your comment, that’s pure myth.

shualah says:

a note for eli: i’m not sure you can assume that ms. rubin’s question stems from ignorance. it equally is likely that she wanted to see if the girls would attach contemporary communities/populations to the term “amalek.”

an endlessly fascinating article. thank you for publishing it. i wonder how the ladies would react to pinsky’s characterizations of michal in his book “the life of david,” and her scorn, ultimately, for her warrior-king.

Doug Greener says:

A good, fair article. Hold that course, Tablet. These girls are beautiful, as closely wedded to Judea and Samaria as anybody else living there. They give the lie to the contention that this land has “occupiers” and “occupied.” It has people who love it and are not going anywhere. But it still is Judea and Samaria!

Verificationist says:

photographs are astounding. never seen anything like it.

What kills me is how many of these people are American in descent. Europeans fleeing the Holocaust, Russians fleeing totalitarianism, Middle Easterners fleeing dhimmitude–those are people who had good reasons to leave their homes and move to Israel, and the conflict between them and the native Arabs is subsequently tragic.

But to leave a country with plenty of room, ample freedom, and no real history of antisemitic violence to move a densely occupied area and struggle to push the original inhabitants out off their homelands, with no justification besides a contention that an imaginary friend deeded it to their ancestors a few thousand years ago: that is criminal.

To Nil: “original inhabitants”? oh, please. Arabs arrived in 638 CE (and they aren’t the descendents of the Jebusites or whatever-ites) and ruined the country. They borrowed a non-Arab name for the country and up until 1917, it was broken up into three different administrative districts. And until 1922-23, they considered themselves Southern Syrians.

But they did ethnically cleanse Jews out of Shchem, Hebron, Gaza, Gush Etzion, etc., etc.

Limor Joseph-Raz says:

i want to say wow
i am sitting here in awe
but i don’t know what to write
because saying its fantastic – that is always the response to your work…
and how will you know how special these are
from the other creations you made?
how will you know its not an obvious response

the light, the color, and mostly, the land, that land ….its colors – I know it so well, its deep in me, those are the landscapes i drew when i was a little girl, i can smell your pictures…this backdrop together with the expression of these girls, looks like they are a new breed of human females, alien, born from this land that is in limbo, so they are in limbo, its so sad, its horrific, their juxtaposition of innocence, juvenile stupidity, self-possessed drama, mixed in a soup of evil politics in the hands of religious fanatical sorcerers that belong to my tribe.

your loving sister-in-law.

victoria cooper says:

you made these girls like a secular and regular and they are not, they are not you writer Rubin at all….take your vogue ,NYT and you know what you can do with it….horror, shame and how disgusting…your soul will never wear or witness what these souls state……not interesting in your mag. at all….

Limor Joseph-Raz says:

Apologies for not making this clear – my comments above are in response to Gillian Laub’s photographs

The Arabs aren’t native to the land they’ve lived in since the 7th century. Mere transients! You can’t make this stuff up, folks–although it still surprises me that these religious lunatics expect anyone else to take their reasoning seriously.

The monotheistic invaders of the 7th Century share nothing in common with the current Mohammedan colonizers.

The few ‘Palestinians’ who arrived before the 20th Century are Mohammed-worshipping Turkish imperialists. They came in the 1700′s. They do not belong in Israel – just look at how all they have been able to develop are crime-ridden Islamic slums.

Look around ‘East Jerusalem’ and Muslim areas of the ‘West Bank’ and ask yourself if that freakshow of moral depravity, genetic inferiority through inbreeding, and physical repulsiveness belongs in the Levant. It doesn’t.

Isn’t there a moderator? Why is Barry allowed to post this nonsense repeatedly?

Wow. Barry does a great job with the Nazi impression. The cognitive dissonance is astounding. He’d fit in well at Der Stuermer.

“Reshaping the struggle?”- what is new about another group of fanatics thinking they have a direct phone line to God? the Middle East is full of them…”Reshaping” would be when Bat El and her fellow fundamentalists (of all religious and nationalistic faiths) see the divine image in all humans…the rabbis writing about the first humans knew that there is a reason why the first humans were not Jews or Muslims or Maori but humans.. this young settler could spend a little less time with fantasies of revenge and more in reading, and accepting as a way to be, words of Biblical prophets who spoke of taking care of the poor, the widow, the land, who knew that we are all brothers and sisters.

Jason M says:

Alon: Agreed.

I don’t appreciate the Muslim-hatemongering by a couple of the Christians posting here. It’s a reminder what Israel is getting into by having so much Evangelical Dispensationalist support in America: support of fanatics that are blurring the lines between Israel and Palestine, and, in an ironic twist of fate, setting the stage for a singular, binational state.

I spent a weekend at the Kfar Tapuach Settlement in 1997 while interning with Associated Press. The reason for my stay was a photo essay of a rabbi living there at the time. As a young person I went naively expecting to meet the types of heroic Zionists I’d read about since I was a kid – before our meeting, this rabbi led me to believe he was of that ilk. Unfortunately the people I encountered during my stay held beliefs much closer in line with those of the violent radical groups of the 60′s such as the weather underground. I suppose I arrived around 40 years too late for my idealism, time and circumstance made for a much different movement than I had anticipated.

This article brought back a lot of those feelings and memories from my short time spent there. It saddens me that these young women have been taught such a narrow minded worldview by people in positions of authority and influence. One tenet I appreciate so much about Judaism is the idea students are meant to challenge their teachers, accepting nothing without due diligence. The type of indoctrination taught these young women seems the antithesis of Judaism to me. I hope someday they are afforded the opportunity to travel and form their own worldviews.

In reference to the previous comments, I must say it surprises me to see so much hatred on this site. I realize anything having to do with this subject matter brings out the worst in people, but I assumed Tablet was read by a more tolerant crowd. Most conflicts are complicated and Israel is no exception…rarely are things black and white, generally they’re shades of gray.

I am both an American and an Israeli citizen if that helps ward of some of the rage I’m bound to receive from this posting…but then again maybe I’m still a bit naive.

The goal to restore the biblical state of Israel is not quite what the prophets had in mind. A Messianic Kingdom is the desired outcome. The core pieces of the divine jigsaw puzzle are : Israel; Judea and Samaria/The West Bank; Gaza; Jordan; Lebanon; Syria; Egypt and Saudi Arabia. World Peace 2050 is a vaid mission.

I like all the following names for the 150,000 sq.m. trapezoid platform in the Old City…The Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary/House for All Nations and Centre of Unfolding Potential.

Prayers for the Middle East.

Correction…

“World Peace 2050 is a valid mission.”

Settlers Visit Arab Town, Condemn Mosque Arson

Blessings to the good people at Eretz Shalom.

All the cynics out there must ask themselves the following question…

“What is the divinely mandated plan for the Holy Land ?”

Those groups which best approximate the vision will be blessed. Follow the wrong path and you will be led astray. False conceptions of divine will lead to poor thoughts, actions and thus consequences for the world.

The Tanach is part : Genealogy; Drama; Lawmaking and Interpretation; Jurisprudence; Romance; War Battles; Power Dynamics; Place Naming; Object Referencing; Chronology; Prophecy; Allegory; Metaphor ; VIP’s; Filler and Wise Counsel. Weighing up the relevance of the different pieces should be left to very wise souls. The shore of history is littered with the ugly flotsam and jetsam resulting from the terrible decisions made by various people who thought they understood the true meaning of the good book. The Tanach is the most important book in the world. The 79,976 words of the Pentateuch assume primacy.

Despite the author’s obvious biases – not hostile, but still obvious – these girls come across as wonderful. Thank you for that, and for reminding us that there are still people like that in Israel, even if only on a few isolated hilltops. Apparently, the further that you get from Tel Aviv…the further you get from Tel Aviv.

Palestiniansareamyth says:

Barry is telling the truth. The people who don’t want to hear the truth are the Islamofacists and anti-semites like Nil, Jason and Masy. Probably the same person. Btw Jason the vast majority of the people posting here are Jewish. I doubt you are.
Israel is the homeland of the Jews! Arabia is the homeland of the Arabs!

Yosef Blau says:

As a zionist and religious Jew I am appalled by the manipulation of teen age girls in a school which focuses on indoctrination rather than education. Protests against government policies should be done by adults not by adolescents. It is not surprising that in a black and white world a response to government forces removing settlers from a site based on court decisions and elected government policy is to destroy a Mosque and vandalize an Army base.
Unless the extremists are disavowed the result will be to discredit the complex comunities of Jews living in contested parts of biblical Israel.

While the article is beautifully written there are several major issues with it. One of my daughters is a student at the school. She interviewed only the most extreme of the girls there. Since Amona the school no longer officially allows girls to go to protests. The vast majority of the girls have never been arrested or taken part in any illegal activity. The author went out of her way not to talk to any girls who don’t fit into her notion of what the school is about. Additionally, very few girls get married while still in school, perhaps one or two a year and they have to leave the school when the get engaged.

Ariella says:

Elizabeth, why do you write that Israel “conquered” Judea and Samaria in 1967? Do you not understand that it was a defensive war, with five Arab nations descending upon Israel in order to slaughter her inhabitants and take its land? A minimum of 100,000 dead was the estimate if there were any breach of defensive lines; parks and stadiums were prepared as graveyards and morgues. Even though Israel ‘won’, thousands still died, including the parents of many of my friends.

Israel’s width at that time was all of ten miles. To return to that state of affairs would be suicide.

Batya Leidner says:

The writer barely breezed over the brutal murder of the Fogel family in Itamr . This and the unprovoked murders in cold blood of so many others have shaped the lives of these girls.

S Toren says:

Read part of the article but gave it up as what I read was terribly slanted and non representative of what I see.

My daughter went t Maale Levona as did several of her friends. The school teaches young women to be assertive, self thinking individuals proficient in math, science and English. Yes, they learn Torah, lots of it, and they learn values, responsibility to the Jewish People and the connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel. They are not being taught to become young mothers of a dozen children (although some will, and I hardly see that as a problem if the girls are mature and up to the task), but certainly they will not become narcistict self centered individuals after fours years with such warm and caring teachers and educators.

The authors attempts at dramatization in the end destroy her credibility.

I thought dissent was patriotic!

George Soros and his puppet – the inarticulate, affirmative-action, failed President – have made it their primary goal to establish a far-right theocratic KKKaliphate in Judea and Samaria.

I dissent from Soros’ far right policy.

Paraphrasing Reverend Wright . . . “G-d Damn Palestine!”

judith says:

Deeply troubling from a great many points of view.

Dan O. says:

This article is interesting when read in light of the Edward Luttwak interview. Luttwak dismisses the settlers’ power, saying that the settlements they can be removed in an instant give a workable two-state settlement. Of course, Luttwak is pessimistic of such a settlement by citing the cycles of Arab internal conflict (when Palestinians have internal peace they’re not interested in external peace, and vice versa). This article seems to indicate that the Israel’s interest in peace may be subject to similar cycles of Israeli internal conflict and settler gangsterism. (Let’s not beat around the bush. These women are trained gangsters.)

Where Luttwak may be wrong is his idea that the status quo is good for Israeli cohesiveness. It is certainly good for the cohesiveness of these young women. But what of Israel, in general?

Oh. Instead of learning to think for themselves, these pitiable young vapid women chant Israeli lebensraum, and form ranks for The Kahane Youth in make-believe jackboots.

Empty eyes. Al Quaeda would love them.

In the utter vapidity of their mindless violence they wonder why violence is visited upon them.

@Barry – we don’t do Tea Party here. Try idiotsRus.com.

Unfortunately, this article does not do the justice or praise that these institutions deserve. The School focused on here does not represent this wonderful and worthy line of schools and futures these young women bring to Israel. Perhaps it is time the author spend some more time in Judea and Samaria.

While my political and religious beliefs are about as far to the left from these institutions as they possibly could be, I was left considering how purpose and meaning had filled these girls lives completely. And my impression is that religion is only the supporting element; it is the fight, struggle, the purpose that gives them a level of content — even happiness– that most of us experience occasionally.

Beautiful writing, stunning photography — thank you Ms. Rubin and Ms. Laub.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

Rubin’s article may be beautifully written but it is deeply flawed. She is more concerned with “narratives” than facts. A few more example of flaws (or “misstatements”?) in addition to what was noted above:

a) Daniella Weiss is not the “Grandmother” of B’nai Akiva by even the wildest stretch of the imagination. Anyone who knows anything about B’nai Akiva (which Rubin obviously does not) would know instantly that B.A. is far too moderate and respectful of the state for Weiss’ tastes.

For those of you who don’t know, B.A. is the youth movement of Israel’s National-Religious sector and is now Israel’s largest youth movement having exceeded the Tzofim (scouts) around 10-15 years ago. B.A. kids IDENTIFY with the State. Active in all kinds of areas they are especially involved with “social justice” issues. The majority probably lean to the moderate right.

Daniella Weiss arguably is the “grandmother of the outpost youth”. But to conflate that with B.A. is a mark of ignorance (and I am giving Rubin the benefit of a lot of doubt).

b) Saying that the outpost youth are taking over the IDF is also a mark of supreme ignorance. Firstly, they despise the army since the destruction of Gush Katif. And increasingly the army refuses to draft them for obvious and less obvious reasons.

Yes, more and more of the members of the elite combat units and especially the officer corps are coming from the National-Religious sector, disproportionately so. 30%-40% of the cadets in officer training are kippa wearers (the IDF recently built a new, much larger synagogue at the Training Base 1 (Israel’s West Point) to accommodate the large number of religious cadets). But to conflate that with the outpost youth is manifestly ignorant.

c) The outpost youth are but a tiny fraction of the 500,000 Israelis living over the Green Line.

Rubin proves an ironclad law of nature: Factual correctness is inversely proportional to political correctness, and Rubin is very PC.

hg

Efrata / J’lem

At least at tea party rallies – unlike that psychotic ‘church’ that your president faithfully followed for 20 years – they don’t preach ‘G-d damn America’ or lead the congregation in political advocacy for Hamas.

(sadly my president too at least until he resigns to run for KKKaliph)

Hershel- Thanks for the insightful comments. You made good counters to some of the misconceptions in Rubin article. Another one would be the insinuation that some of the girl get impregnatated in high school, leaving out the fact that they are already married (and thus avoiding the bible belt teen mom culture comparison), and it is still very taboo to get married in high school, even in the far right of religious Jews.

Obviously some of the girls there are somewhat insane, and the school’s decision not to warn or expel students who leave the campus area constantly is a terrible policy. But Rubin fails to interview a psychiatrist about these girls living amongst such violence and hate, and witnessing atrocities on both sides of the fence, while in the very article that she linked to here (the one about the Hamas Suicide bomber) the psychological state of the children is noted as a key part for understanding the mental psyche of a terrorist. I fear that this (and others such points like Heshy mentioned) are what make this article (while extremely interesting and thought provoking) a little slanted.

It’s also worth noting that when these girls are led to think about revenge and other deplorable things, the children across the fence are taught many of the same things, in a way that can be argued to be much more extreme.

I just wanted to correct some things I’ve seen in the comments.

The Weather Underground was not a violent terrorist organization. At no point did their actions result in the deaths of civilians or US government workers. The group, which included Jews, was responding to the violence in Vietnam and that of the FBI and CIA against the Black Panthers.

References to Amalek in the Bible have no historical or anthropology backing. Amalek is used as a specter to fill in for the Jews’ enemies throughout time.

James philadelphia says:

The liberated land of Judea and Samaria has to be defended. Palestinian Moslem Arabs are full of hatred ,fanaticism, terrorism, violence. As history demonstrates amply the Jew is only safe when it defends itself. The stronger the Jew is the safer he will be.

lazer, you are wrong about the Weather Underground, and I speak from personal experience.

The Weather U. was definitely a violent terrorist organization.

My roommates (in NY during the 60-70′s)were deeply involved in the Weather U. and I met others involved as well. I learned (after the events) of several bombings planned in the NY area, including one that led to the destruction of a townhouse in Lower Manhattan where several deaths occurred. There were other events of a violent, terrorist nature – “terrorist” in that the targeting would include the general public. To justify the Weather U. as a “response” is ideological nonsense which relieves them of any responsibility for their actions.

Amalek has a significant place in the Torah narrative, whether Amalek can be “historically” proved or not. And, as you say, a connection with Jewish persecution, pogroms etc. through history including with Haman and the story in the Book of Esther (which shows the early provenance).

Weathermen were negaged in bombings, arson, etc.

On February 16, 1970 a nail bomb placed on a window ledge of the Park Police substation in the Upper Haight neighborhood of San Francisco exploded at 10:45 p.m. The blast killed police Sergeant Brian McDonnell.

Check sources at Google.

Fascination with fundamentalist women is common in Western narratives about war, this article included. Also common is the erotic or rather, perverse gaze, that always keeps the reader on guard, hinting that there must be some kind of a pathology, many times referred to as ‘sexual repression’. Ironically, we’ve seen these same narratives in the coverage of Palestinian women suicide bombers.
But, although the article and pictures are highly original, you didn’t get the picture at all. In reality, these young girls are perceived as a real threat to their own society, they are too independent, they are ‘borderliners’, they might experiment with sex, smoking etc. That’s why they are married so young- to restrain their real political potential as adult women and confine them to the ideological role of raising well-educated (i.e. fundamentalist) young children. This form of female subjugation has been the lot of women throughout history. Too sad you were not able to see this aspect at all. These young women deserve a chance to go out and see the world, to get university education, to choose a professional path, to explore their identity and sexuality like we, American women can. For most of them this will never happen.

Mike Jacobson says:

The solution is simple. These Jewish people, and their daughters, should be allowed to stay on their land, in the new country of Palestine. They should be given equal rights as citizens of Palestine. Problem solved.

jane doe says:

they r freaks ! and the erotic in this case is a form of repression and hate just like the nazis. the settlers are mad violent nuts.

Jane Doe’s comments Sep. 9, 2011 7:14 pm should be removed.

These girls would do well to remember what the Lord said to Moshe Rabbeinu as we were about to cross the Jordan “do not say to yourself, “The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. ”

They would also do well to remember Shemot 22:20 “Do not oppress strangers, for you were once strangers in the land of Mitzrayim”

Isabelle Berger says:

Settlers = facists nation =The theives who are stealing our country.

signed,
A Zionist

@ Jane Doe, have you ever seen what the Palestinians teach their toddlers?? The Israeli’s do NOT teach their children to kill the palestinians in fact Israel has said let’s live in peace together. But the Muslim world has voiced their desire loud and clear and that is death to all jews…no peace! That is THEIR words not mine! If these girls are angry because 2 teenege boys came in and took a knife and savagely stabbed a baby, a todddler and a young boy and the parents. These boys have said they are PROUD they slaughtered the baby AND they would have killed the other children had they seen them. Disgusting!

babawawa says:

G-d bless these girls – they are the future of all Israel. May the One On High protect and defend them, and all Klal Yisroel.

Why the snickering tone? What is so bad about having 10 children. How else can the Jewish people survive? These girls are in the front lines and of course they are highly traumatized. Who wouldn’t be after their teacher was murdered in cold blood. Don’t they deserve some compassion and respect instead of being singled out as freaks and sexualized in the slide show! This is just the sort of piece I’ve come to expect from Tablet, snarky and frankly anti-Semitic.

Wallace says:

I think it’s sad that your magazine is trying to put a positive spin on illegal settlers. It’s like you have no idea of the struggles of the Palestinians. I get it that the Jews need a homeland, but they already have one without these illegal settlements.

S Toren says:

Sad to see all the haters and maligners crawl out from their crevices, but not surprised. The auther chose the most out spoken girls and dramatized what they said and now all those self hating jews can attack what is presented.

Reality is much more complex although also much more mudane and boring.

Hold on– you are saying that these girls are protesting the settlement policies of Israel because they are not already violent enough by their standards? That they are taking a stand against the Israeli government because they do not believe Netanyahu’s campaign of racism and ethnic cleansing is moving fast enough? These girls want the settlement policies to be even more aggressive? Is that correct? I am struggling to understand this.

Jean Terry says:

These girls are so beautiful. I don’t know that I agree with everything they believe, but I admire their spirit and strength, I do believe Israel never should have left Gaza as I also believe they should not evacuate any other land to please the world. I pray for these girls to know the Lord and to work for Him. I love Israel and support her as best I can in my small way.

Nanushka says:

Almost everything that I have read in the Israeli press on this subject,in Hebrew and in English, far left, mainstream and right, was always full of the authors pre-conceived judgments.
The served mainly as a vehicle for the author’s political agenda and the verdict against the “Hilltop Youth” was sealed, before the article was written.

Rubin’s article is a breath of journalistic fresh air. She lets the girls speak for themselves, and lets us, the readers think for ourselves.
כל הכבוד!

Abrahamlied says:

Disgusting fascist shells of humans. No compassion, no soul. It’s so ironic that the only difference between these settlers and the nazis is they don’t use gas chambers to kill their victims. But they take what isn’t theirs, get rid of those they believe to be lesser based on the belief that they are superior, in the hope of creating utopia – the same ideology that drove Hitler. All based on fiction, lies and delusion. The author of this article and it’s subjects should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Vile excuses for human beings.

I absolutely agree with Matthew Bishop and Abrahamlied. These young girls aren’t beautiful, they are fighting to maintain a vicious and unfair conflict which has seen an entire people – and their children (and likely their children’s children) thrown off their land to live in tiny, under resourced, poor settlements. One would think after something so utterly horrific and beyond par as the holocaust that there would be some compassion and to only do unto others as you would have done to you. I thought the article and sentiment behind it was appalling. I am not american, I am not palestinian. I am british, but as a human being I can see injustice clearly enough.

These girls are what they are, and they are defending the only place the know as their home.

As generations are born in settlements, The Settlers as a people are created. This is something to be feared.

Let us recall that these young ladies are activist ‘settlers’ only because due to an Arab initiated policy of ethnic cleansing during the years of the British Mandate, Jews – and young Jewish ladies – were forced to leave the areas of what today are Judea and Samaria. Jews were killed, butchered, raped and maimed in Hebron, Shechem, Jenin, Gush Etzion, Gaza, Bet HaAravah, Atarot and Neveh Yaakov, as well as Jerusalem’s Old City, and their property stolen, looted and destroyed in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-1939 and during 1947-1949. That is why they are so special – they are returning to where Jews wer, not in Bible days but less than 100 years ago.

andrew r says:

“Arab initiated policy of ethnic cleansing” – That’s funny because during the Mandate the Jewish population of Palestine increased from ~60,000 to 650,000. Israel’s defenders usually say the Palestinians could not have been ethnically cleansed as the Palestinian population keeps increasing. Once again, Israelis are above the same logic when it doesn’t work in their favor.

It is disgusting to read this article.
By one size you feel you are reading ficcion science, by the other size it is clear that no chance of peace at all for that generation.
But I claimed that the tittle is very attractive for young people of this century, why do you portrait a young beautifull girl posing like a model? So, you confuse people, finally they will say they are right, people up there have been assesinated, so…

Giyuress says:

Very interesting!

Miriam Fox says:

Arabs have been in Israel since the 7th century-Jews have been here 1500 YEARS PRIOR to the creation of Islam! Please, read your history! Regarding these girls: they are not the one’s taught to rejoice in the murder of innocents. Remember this interview took place one week after the brutal murder of their teacher and her family in their beds.

Girls of the Settlements
What’s next? A Playboy spread?

The Girls of the Settlements
What next? A Playboy spread?

Nick Stuart says:

The obdurate fanaticism of the settlers speaks for itself. The irrational nature of a “divinely mandated” race-state experiment initiated by seething ultra right-wing National Socialists like Jabotinsky and Herzl, however, is obviously lost on the hyper-racist young ladies. And the basic glaring fact that the very term “Jewish people” is every bit as ambiguous as “people of color” is similarly ignored by these grimly determined illegal squatters. Tick…tick..tick…

The Israeli government reaps what they’ve sown. Utter contempt for international law by Israel has inspired and encouraged a generation of bigoted fanatics who now spit in the face of their benefactors. A future Israeli prime minister who genuinely desires peace with Palestine will have to deal with the enemy within: the settlers.

Tara Bratton says:

calling 15 year old girls erotic is gross and insulting, and the pictures closed the deal.

Ari Ben-Yam says:

Knowing the realities described, I very much enjoyed the article. Yes, it is somewhat biased by the writer’s liberal and secular perspective and is not very representative; nevertheless it shows an honest attempt to give a voice to these girls who are regularly and crudely marginalized by almost all of Ms. Rubin’s colleagues (and, by extension, by their more obedient readers, based on some comments here).

I’m not going to waste bitrate proving yet again the falsehood of the stale anti-settler arguments some comments here contain. However I think it is particularly important to emphasize that these girls and their likes, are closer to being truly FREE than any group of young people I ever encountered. They are independent, thinking and acting out their beliefs which they had plenty of opportunities to challenge. This is not the “freedom” (from responsibility and care) of a typical spoiled college kid in the US. Theirs is the freedom of a morality uncompromised by fear, deep connection to a Land, a Torah and a People, all transcending current fads and politics and standing as a light – yes, to the nations – for millennia. The tragedies they witness only make these young women stronger in their determination. More than Israel’s hi-tek industry, its sophisticated and amazingly enemy-civilian-casualty-aware military, and its excessive reliance on American sympathy, the will and character of these young Jews are the hope and assurance of Israel’s future.

Ami Ben Joseph says:

This was disturbing to read. Settlers are scum.

M.S.Bar-Ron says:

From the pedantic disdain in her words, it seems this author wants his readers to ignore/forget/deny that the so-called West Bank is the heartland of the Jewish People from time immemorial. That it is illegal –both by Israeli law and Torah law (halakhah) for the government to cede its territory to foreign powers (and in this case suicidal).

In her world view, brave `olim –families of a people gathered in from the 4 corners of the earth after 2,000 years or persecution and genocide– should be denigrated as “Peruvians, Khazaks and Russians.”

In her New York Times-esque reality, you can almost forget that the entire Palestine issue is one huge Muslim fraud. That the “Palestinian” people were molded into an entity for the world after 1967 by the Egyptian born Arafat and the PLO in general. A tool with which to chip away at the state of Israel and weaken it so it may again be attacked. Muslims have made no secret of their designs on every inch of Israel–and intent on making it Judenrein.

For the author, it seems the true history –that “Palestine” was already split into two nations, Jordan and Israel– has been erased. Together with the only fair solution: for a third nation to be created from land given up by Jordan, whose population is over 90% “Palestinian”.

It’s likely she sees Abbas –Arafat’s right hand man and orchestrator the Munich massacre, including the death of Americans– a moderate peace partner.

Worst, she might have you forget Israel’s experience cutting off vibrant limbs –the blossoming communities of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria– for peace, only for those areas to become bases launching terror into the heart of our cities. And the vain, pacifist strategies of our adolescent girls at the time, facing down the evicting soldiers with flowers in hand…

To her, perhaps all this makes our native daughters fighting for our land today look like delinquent, anarchist cry-babies.

It is a worldview that I, for one, do not share.

George S says:

@Jack S – 09/15 -1616hrs.
William Blake of England wrote:
“A law for the lion
and the Ox = Oppression”

……and you sir, are you the Lion or the Ox? Better yet, maybe the lawyer whom writes these often found oppressive laws.

George S says:

@ Ami Ben Joseph-09/17/11-0137hrs

Remarkable Sir! Thats’ almost the very words I would presume spoken by King George of England regards the Colonial Settlers of Colonial America when he learned of their dastardly act regards, his cargo of Tea being dumped in the Boston Bay, as their answer to his oppressive Tax laws.

If one takes the time to read the history of the Holy Land only one conclusion can be arrived at – The Palestinian Nation is a 20th century invention.

Read what Mark Twain had to say when he visited the Holy Land – it was empty and barren – no Palestinian Nation was present.

To all the Sad Self Hating Jews who have commented here, I say the following – When Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood come for You, You will be Thankfull to have Brave Young Jews like these Settler Girls come to Your Defense.

To the anti-semites commenting here I say who cares about your hateful comments. May Israel and the Jewish People be a Thorn in Your Eyes Eternally!

If you don’t think that growing up in a secular home in a suburb outside NYC, London, etc that you are going to be brainwashed, you are…brainwashed!

BTW, the learning methodology in Judaism is not to challenge everything the teacher says. It is to learn the teacher’s methodologies the way a diciple learns from a master, and then apply the methodologies honestly to the material being studied.

nil says: The Arabs aren’t native to the land they’ve lived in since the 7th century. Mere transients! . . .

“Mere transients” is what the Jews were considered by the Muslims when they threw them out of North Africa, where they’d been living since the fall of the second Temple. The Saudi Arabs invaded much of the Middle East, committing genocide against the indigenous populations if they did not convert to Islam.

There has ALWAYS been a Jewish prescence in the Holy Land. ALWAYS. Not so the Arabs or Muslims.

@ sara says: Sep 9, 2011
2:22 PM
“These young women deserve a chance to go out and see the world, to get university education, to choose a professional path, to explore their identity and sexuality like we, American women can. For most of them this will never happen”

Sara these girls are pious. Why do you want them to explore their sexuality?

Why do you want them to be like so many American teenage girls who are brainwashed by the media and a degenerate culture to start whoring around at an early age, so that by the time they are young women they genrally have low self esteem?

These girls know their identity they do not lack in this regard like you liberal women do.

You are very sarcastic… and I must say, very easy to write such an article when you don’t live here….I from these girls you are writing about, except I grew up in the city, and chose after marriage to move to the settelments. For you people who think peace is so easy to make, and that a bunch of settelers are whats stoping it- you’re crazy. I don’t understand how you weren’t ashamed to talk about Ruthi like you did. Do you know what it’s like to sleep with a knife under your bed-just in case, or to have you children in bed with you every night because you are scared to leave them in the other room?! You have no idea what it’s like to live here. And it’s not because “we started throwing rocks”. I think that it is clear already that the west bank is not what the Palestinians want. they want our heads. They will want more and more every time we give something. Not that you seem to care if this whole country was given to them. But in that case should you really be writing for a magazine on Jewish Life?! You seem to be on their side…Maybe go live with them, We’ll come see whats left of you after a couple of hours…I now that jews are usualy the biggest antisemites but I hope it’s just that you never got to live here in this beautiful part of our peoples country given and promised to us so way back….

Im from Brazil and Im just glad we are far away from Israel. Hitler was a monster for the genocide of Jews. The genocide of the Palestinians will not be seen with good eyes too. Both sides suffer with the war.

Dear Editor and fellow readers of Tablet,
I am sorry to see the invasion of the spinners has arrived here by interconnection to other web-sites. Both Barry and lazer need basic correction. I’m glad to see that several other posters clarified two of the outstanding dangerous events committed by people who quite naturally involved themselves in the political life of Chicago, Illinois. Neither were Jerry Wright nor the U.S.Ambassador to North Africa. Rev.Wright informed me that Trinity Unity Church of Christ in Chicago also had another affiliate located in my area which is as unlike Chicago as you could imagine. I left high school in a Midwestern suburb for a private school that my mother had attended,a few years after Bernadine Ohrenstein arrived with her parents in that same suburb where she later went to the same college prep high school that I’d originally attended. She later made it her business while employed at Northwestern University to object to Jeremiah Wright receiving an Honorary Chair and to prevent it. Although lazer and Barry have their facts reversed from reality, what would motivate the former Bernadine Dohrn to punish Jerry Wright? Did it have anything to do with the book written by her husband Bill Ayers,an apologia reviewed in The New York Times, yet nobody remembers because that appeared on the morning of 9/11/2001 ?
It seems more apparent that they simply wanted to punish Barack Obama for becoming President of the U.S and ignoring them after he discovered what they really were before he met them and back when he was just a kid.

zionist from Itamar says:

these girls are amazing!
they fight to protect their country and family.
these girls live in a world were every week there are attempts to terrorist attacks!

do you hear about this?
how can you criticize us when you are not here? in our coping mentality?

these girls lose thier mother and father brothers and sisters.
they are the ones who live on burning ground, FOR YOU!
the arabs (there is no such thing palestinian due to there is no such state) want us dead! yes, me the jew, who went to the army up to high levels in order to protect your nation!
they want to kill you too, just because you are a jew.
they try to kill us! these girls dont do that because they are Bored.

מחכים לך בארץ ישראל.

Doctor Bucephalus says:

I found the article beautiful and more important, absolutely necessary. I spent two years in Israel at a Yeshiva around 99. I was shocked at how far things had gone politically, at a total loss for words at what I saw. My one objection is Rubin’s use of the word eroticism… while I see what she must have observed the question of eros in a religious community like that is many times more complicated than the politics here. I’d think it optimistic to imagine it taking another decade to hear that story told even remotely right, and the religious laws and cultural messages are the easy parts of that story.

One comment to Yisrael Medad you make it clear to me again that no matter how modern we’ve gotten, many of us still don’t get some very modern things. She did not pull a hatchet job, and in being afraid she would you opted out of the process and the article documented as much. That’s the maximum price you paid for it. But there’s more.

The story is about the girls most of all. It’s about the Kahanists, who stand out for a reason, thus making it a story. It’s not about your council or the school system’s lovely hierarch, but about people, and like it or not the story about these people mattered. If it were up to you this thing you admire even while disagreeing it would never see the light. All you can see is facile pieces against you and facile articles for you. Freedom of speech means real dialogue, and not being afraid of what truly free discourse can bring.

william Engledow says:

appears israel could take a lesson from these girls. Good to know all of the newer generation are not brainwashed.

You captured the picture of what all of my beautiful, angry, intense West Bank nieces embody. I just wish I could talk to them about the issues…

1. These girls had just been completely traumatized by the horrific and violent death of their teacher and her family. I wonder what impact this had on the interview.
2. I read through the comments and the violent language on both sides, against Palestinians and settlers, is disturbing.

ross woodshire says:

yes it’s good to know that there are complete psychos on both sides.

Squall says:

Beautiful article with amazing photos. These girls are courageous and its good to know that not all teenagers are stupid kids commenting the latests dumb TV shows on facebook.

jeffrey guggenmos says:

im interested in the struggles for the young people in and around the conflict im christian,also a truck driver in the usa please help me to understand what im not privy to go through, not that its a privelage to be in your circumstances.ive never seen war on my home ground like so many of you young people have for this im deeply sorry for your plight,how ever if its any conselation i do pray every day for the peace of all people. Basically were all the same in physical form its just been twisted in the belief system.

John Home-Douglas says:

This confirms that all wars are religious based. I find this article depressing in as much as so much hate has been built up by the excuse that the Jew own the whole of Palestine because they were there first (not true) and because Abraham had decided this was to be their country(who gave him that divine right ?.)I was in Palestine 1946-47,the problem that now exists was not created by the Sabras,but the hoards of foreigners that came in,mostly from Europe. Aggressive Jews,who had gone through hell,that had turned them into snarling dogs. What is so sad is that Arabs and Jews are related,they are both Semites.

Ariellush says:

It seems to me that the author would be much more benevolent to Hamas and their leaders and “narrative” than to the Ma’ale Levona girls. It is a matter of preference and her political agenda.

Speaking as an Israeli, I’m disgusted that my country has allowed potentially intelligent young people to be turned into slavering fanatics exhibiting no more sense or perspective than the terrorists they describe as animals. Shame on you, Israel.

sue beardon says:

i feel such despair when i read about whether jews, arabs or anyone else was in the holy land first. It’s a futile and pointless line of argument. As a jew living in England I await the arrival of the Scots and Welsh, living on the Celtic fringes, back to the land that they inhabited long before Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans and – dare i say – Jews, moved in. I am priveleged to live in a country, whlst not perfect by any means, does have a pretty good record of multi-cultural co-existence, inter-marriage and tolerance. I spent three months in a small palestinian village underneath the hill that Itamar sits upon. All my nieghbours were palestinian farmers and their families, bringing in their sheep and olives, keeping themselves to themselves, and watching daily for the incursio of settlers from above, bthing in their well, burning their olive trees prior to the harvest and parading through their streets with large guns. I was appalled that just after i left two palestinians from Awarta were accused of the murder of the family in itamar, and i wept. But the surprising thing, given the daily humiliations and acts of harrassment that my nieghbours experienced, was that these retaliations happen so infrequently these days. Generally the message of resistance through non-violence is pretty much the majority view. And I love this, because i absolutely believe that if there is a god, which i doubt, his will would be done far more by human beings seeing each other’s humanity and learning to live together in pace, than by claims that he promised one tribe land at the expense of others. I was struck in the article by the message of purim – what’s mine is yours, what’s yours is yours – in other words, everything is for all of us. Halleluja to that

This articles describes some of the least cooperative people I’ve ever read about. It seems they don’t play well with others and don’t want to. An amazing portrait of modern tribalism, though. Very well reported.

Shmuel says:

More power to them! It’s about time some of this Jewish pride that I see every day gets some exposure in mainstream press.

There is no doubt that Elizabeth is an excellent writer, but there is equally no doubt that her stories are extremely biased.

The author herself admits to having written http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/30/magazine/30HAMAS.html?pagewanted=all and anyone who reads the piece should pick up on the heavy anti-alias bias. Terrorists who blow up Jews, Muslims, Women and Children are referred to as “fighters”. Their sob stories are given great considerations, the Israeli narrative is tucked away in footnotes (if even then).

I sympathize with the pain of these girls but disagree with their reaction (acting out violently against Palestinians). I believe they should let the army do its thing (stop attacks, respond to them) and stay united. I also agree with them that the army should focus more on their safety than political correctness, but the difference is that I would never take matters into my own hands. I believe doing so is counterproductive.

What a waste of Jewish lives! When enthusiasm exceeds discretion and wisdom, it turns to fanaticism. Do not make Jerusalem or the land an idol. Those who create a love for Zion amongst the non-Jews in the region, do not dispossess natives in the land of their homes and livelihoods, create an understanding of Torah which will bring Muslims into its embrace, those will create a new, safe,secure Zion in harmony with its own best ideals.This is what it means to be a nation of priests (not warriors), a light unto the world. To be a liberator,not an oppressor. Other people — some, but not all –have lower standards; it does not mean we should emulate them. A recitation of past injustices to us, does not mean we can inflict injustices on others. Follow the path of Hillel, not Shammai.

Jacob says:

I’m no self-hating Jew. I love our religion and culture.

But this article makes me deeply ashamed of the settler culture that Israel has not only tolerated, but empowered. The occupation is a cancer on the State of Israel and on Jews worldwide, and these girls sadly embody all of the hatefulness, violence, small-mindedness, and danger that the occupation represents. Israel should dismantle all settlements – not for the Palestinians, but to regain its own soul.

The 8% of Israelis who live across the Green Line are not brave. They are not fighters who will save other Jews when the going gets tough. They only endanger all Jews with their greed and fanaticism.

Jules says:

This is is really sickening. These photographic images of young women in preening poses of ugly occupation look like some kind of sick soft porn photo essay in the “sexy” service of illegal Israeli settlements and of course the without end ethnic cleansing of Arabs. Pretty girls and pretty nauseatingly sick.

Jon Liebowitz says:

G-d bless these wonderful patriot young women! Keep on keeping on! We need a new generation of Jews inspired by the ruthless pride of Joshua, and not the despicable appeasement of Rabin.

Jon Liebowitz says:

Shame on all the weak-minded so-called Jews who come on here to express their outrage at these wonderful youth who give hope for a FUTURE for the Jewish State of Israel. I wonder how many NYTimes or NPR reports it took to rip out your Jewish soul – he soul that preserved us for 2,000 years of exile? 50? 100? 500? If it were up to you weaklings, Judiasm would have long ago perished. You think these young women are “extreme” or act like “animals”? Do you know that when Joshua defeated our enemies, he killed every man, woman and child? Why don’t you cowards retreat to the Upper West Side, and leave Israel to REAL Jews, who still have a soul, and a BACKBONE to defend the Jewish State (yes I know you HATE that title, JINOs) against an enemy which does not share your cultured sensibilities (as the Fogel butchery SHOULD have proven to you).

Timothy Broman says:

I support Israel since my youth.

We all wrote Moshe Dyan a letter when students, and his secretary answered my class.

I am proud of your young men and women who stand up against the hypocrisies of politics.

Sincerely,

Timothy

Jean Terry says:

Bless these girls and their friends and community. The Fogel tragedy is horrible and I pray that someday soon Israel can be safe and live in peace. As a Christian I believe Christ is coming soon and it will happen as the Jews are God’s chosen and he loves Israel.

Ben Cohen says:

These people better get used to living in an Arab country. If there is a 2 state solution this territory is getting ceded to a new Arab country, and if there isn’t a 2 state solution then there will be a single Arab state in historic Palestine.

Ben Cohen says:

Jew. In. Name. Only. here…..

There is a political goal and a theological one. The Political goal is a political entity that is majority Jewish and independent from the Arab world. The theological goal is to move to the land of you’re ancestors. I believe that the political goal is more important than the theological one.

Hate to burst your bubbles people, but 99.9% of the 600,000 Jews living in Yehuda & Shomron live there only because it is a 20 minute drive to the hi tech jobs in tel aviv. Tell these people to pick up and move to the Negev and they will laugh at you. There is no employment there, no industry so how will they eat? And besides, why should they move a two hour drive from Saba and savta?

Understand this, and then you will understand why more and more Jews are building homes there. It’s not politics, it’s pure free market economics.

Sue Beardon – it was so nice to read your post. You said what I’ve often wanted to but never quite got the chance to. I was born of Irish parents in London and moved to NY. When I see the English far right talk about expelling newcomers I fantasize about having the chance to agree with them and declare that once they’ve all gone back to Germany or Norway or wherever their ancestors came from me and my fellow Celts will be quite happy to get Britain back. But of course the Celts themselves came from somewhere else, supposedly near Switzerland.

But I’m really writing to say how refreshing your voice of reason and decency is. It’s because of people like you I think there’s still a chance that Israel can become what it has the potential to be; the economic powerhouse of a free, democratic Middle East.

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Its interesting to note that all the girls interviewed were dropouts. Where are the interviews with the current students, or the real graduates who are now doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. My daughter is currently a student in Ulpanat Levona in the 12th grade.Next year she will do sherut leumi, after which she wishes to go to university and study veterinary science. This article sort of ignores the majority in favor of the few you chose to interview. Hardly the overall picture.
The Palestinian people were created by the Palestinian charter in 1966. Prior to that year the west bank was mostly empty of civilians but patrolled by Jordanian military.This is history, look it up….

Adam for Peace says:

As a Jew descended from the brother and son of 11 Holocaust victims (my Grandfather’s parents and 9 siblings were exterminated by the Nazis), I feel outrage toward Jews who invaded and now occupy lands that even Israel agrees belong to Palestinians. The young women in this article were brain-washed from infancy by violent vigilante parents who drove defenseless, innocent Palestinians from their homes. But now these young adults can investigate the history themselves. Painful though it would be for them to confront the reality that they are the offspring of foreign invaders, occupiers and oppressors, that pain pales compared to the suffering that their parents caused innocent Palestinians. It is past time for not only Israelis but Jews across the world to unequivocally denounce the atrocities that extremist vigilante Jewish “settlers” committed against defenseless Palestinians. Jews must confront the objective reality that in the immediate wake of the Holocaust, no doubt warped by unprecedented, unimaginable horrors that they witnessed and suffered, Jews violated the human rights of innocent others in self-survivalist desperation. That fundamental human instincts would drive any nearly exterminated population to extremes in an effort to survive cannot justify human rights violations in a world where justice, fairness, and respect for human rights must govern. After predominantly Christian Europe failed to exterminate Europe’s Jews, Europe orchestrated the oppression of Palestinians in a purportedly compassionate creation of a Jewish “safe haven.” But Europe’s attempted genocide of Jews does not morally justify the oppression of Palestinians. Palestinians and Jews should both have “safe havens,” and both could. But first, they must stop killing each other, and Jews should unconditionally return to Palestinians all occupied territories. Then both Jews and Palestinians should unite in demanding appropriate reparations from their true common oppressors.

The new narrative, is it, hate? Hate devours and hate conquers and hate spawns more hate, and creates an endless circle, that feeds on itself.

This massacre of innocents was more than terrible, it was heart rending and perhaps hard rendering, because what does one do, in bearing witness to such slaughter? One feels enmity. One feels there are enemies bent on slaughtering us as if we have no souls, as if we have no hearts, as if we have no humanity, and those who do these deeds have surely lost all perspective, and definitely their souls, their own humanity, and that is a terrible loss to contemplate.

The answers are difficult to come by. Despair at such brutality, such aimless terrible brutality, as in the murder of mothers, fathers and children in cold blood, begs for response. How does one respond? What is the correct answer? Solomon we need you.

All I know is this, and that is more blood shed, does not ever seem to work, and the cycle continues. We need a new paradigm. The world needs a new paradigm. A new perspective on events, and hatred, and that paradigm has got to be, universal love.

How do we arrive? What are the true seeds of peace? How do we sow what we truly desire. This is the garment of many colors, Joseph’s, a garment that requires sewing, a melding of colors, of different hues, of yous, and that is going to take us to another place, if only we can start. As for needles, we need EL, we need God as never before.

Think about words, and see whether words themselves, can be turned into plough shares, into what’s shared, what’s precious, and good, for us all.

There are definitely numerous particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a great level to carry up. I provide the ideas above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you deliver up the place the most important factor will likely be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round issues like that, however I’m positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each girls and boys really feel the affect of just a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

How quaint? The author paints a stunningly sexy and attractive portrait of what are essentially the manifestation of the terrorist youth movements that my fellow countrymen seem to think is exclusively Palestinian. All of this talk about Auschwitz and painful Jewish history to cover up the power disparity that maintains, promotes, and enables these militant Jewhadists. It’s great that the article takes their comments at neutral value and then spins descriptions into romantic seductions for the distant American readers. PLEASE – I’m sorry, but these women and their children will probably die in the conflict they are dragging the rest of us into. No mention, of course, as to how our tax shekels here in Tel Aviv are paying for their violent hippie fantasy. Thanks, but no thanks, Ms. Rubin.

george says:

A typical piece of anti-Israel garbage from that notorious anti-Israel rag, the NYTimes, by one of its many anti-Israel ‘Jewish’ writers.

There has to be a better way.

Among the most depressing pieces I have read in a long time. I am not a bleeding heart lefty. I have no illusions about who the Israelis “partners” are, and the slim possibilities right now of making peace with them. Nonetheless, the teaching of hatred to Jewish kids, the idea that Arabs should be loaded onto trucks and taken away…this makes my blood run cold. These Jews, this way of thinking, this maximalist mindset– will doom Israel to eternal war.

Thanks for a great article. Truly frightening.

John DeLancy says:

May Ha’Shem bless and protect these young ladies and make them stand bold as Miriam and as Devorah. May He surround them with favor as with a shield, and may they find their countries leaders supporting, rather than arresting, them. May their light shine to the nations, chasing away the darkness.

May Rav Gadi and his fellow laborers be likewise blessed. May his borders be expanded and may his school overflow with children who are not ashamed to be Yehudim living in Yehudah, who are not ashamed to be Am Yisrael living in Eretz Yisrael.

May Ha’Shem make them all as trees planted by running water, whose leaves do not fade and who bear fruit in their season. May they be comforted that Ha’Shem knows their way, because He orders their steps.

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typical knee jerk response from a typical shallow thinker

Kahane is Hitler

BunnyOlesen says:

They are already doomed to an eternal war as long as the ‘palestinians’ exist in their current state. Their children watch ‘kids’ shows with talking rabbits that tell children martyrdom is great and there will be no peace until all jews are swept into the sea, and also that if anyone else in Denmark draws an image of the prophet they should be killed. This is a show for 5 to 10 year olds.

BunnyOlesen says:

They are already doomed to an eternal war as long as the ‘palestinians’ exist in their current state. Their children watch ‘kids’ shows with talking rabbits that tell children martyrdom is great and there will be no peace until all jews are swept into the sea, and also that if anyone else in Denmark draws an image of the prophet they should be killed. This is a show for 5 to 10 year olds.

BunnyOlesen says:

The israel’s face the same choices given to all non muslims. Die, leave, or fight. Ask the Assyrians of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, oh wait, they’re either gone or displaced, guess you won’t be able to. Instead just do a search on Syrian ‘rebels’ targeting christians (aka foreign mercenaries who are not Syrians and who will kill every last Christian, if they can.

So sorry you are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome by proxy. Why you should feel guilt for being deprived of your native land for 2000 years is beyond me, I can only surmise you are easily brainwashed.

“Kazakhs, Russians”? The author clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She is refering to Jews who immigrated from Kazakhstan to Israel as “Kazakhs”. They aren’t
Kazakhs. They’re Jews. Just like the Russians, Ukranians, people of German origin and others who came to Asian countries in Soviet times never were Kazakh, Kyrgiz, Tajik, Uzbek, which are completely differnet people with their own culture and language. All were regarded as Soviet citizens, but of different ethnicity/nationality. It didn’t matter where they lived, in Russia or Uzbekistan. Their passports listed them as “Russian”, “Ukrainian” or as, well, “Jew”. Which was not always pleasant for the Jews. And the Jews were regarded as Jews, and not as Kazhaks or Russians. The author should get informed about such basic facts before writing nonsense.

keep sipping the kool aid my brother !! when was the last time a census was taken over the green line ??

2000

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Girls at War

The teenage believers of the West Bank settlements.
Photographs by Gillian Laub.
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