Friday, April 07, 2006

Giving a Face to the Settlers

This afternoon we visited Kfar Adumim, a West Bank settlement whose future is uncertain. This particular settlement is unique because it is mixed -- not Jews and Arabs mind you, but rather religious and secular Jews living together.

A beautiful Israeli woman was the spokesperson for the settlement. We sat in her backyard garden and talked frankly about the reality of being a settler facing an uncertain future.

She and her young family came with 60 other families some 26 years ago to an area of Sumeria only 10 miles from Jerusalem, where nothing was green and there were absolutely no inhabitants anywhere in sight. Looking around today, that is hard to believe. Trees are now 30 feet high and flowering plants are in abundance. Today there are 300 families living in Kfar Adumim.

The answer to so many questions that we posed was “That is a really difficult question. It is very complicated.” So true for so many issues having to do with finally fixing the eastern border of Israel.

When asked what she would do if she were forced to evacuate, she said, “I would burn the garden and leave the house the day before we had to go.”

I found myself wondering: Would I have been an early pioneer to secure the land of Israel? Would I have stuck it out for 26 years during the various intifadas? Would I stay to the bitter end? What do I think should happen with the West Bank settlements?

There are no easy answers. But at least one of those settlers now has a face.

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