In honor of Chanan Porat, the great dreamer, one year after his passing.
We call them sheep: heavy-sidelocked, scraggly-bearded young men and woolen-cloaked, long-sleeved young women better known as the hilltop youth. Some herd members come in couples, some even with babies, a few of whose mothers are not yet eighteen. Many impress me with the vocabulary and analytical skill that characterize their discussions.
Once I asked their group leader, former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss, why they bother building temporary structures on hilltops in Judea and Samaria: “They just take you down every time! Everyone thinks you’re not for real, that it’s not possible to build anything permanent this way.”
Weiss saw things differently and her view comes with the credibility of the woman whose political acumen brought Kedumim to its present, huge size. She explained the enterprise in terms of a logic unfamiliar to those accustomed to permanent, conventional communities.
First, she said, the temporary housing constructed by the hilltop youth (most are really young adults by now) prevents the Palestinians from taking over the land. The proof is in the pudding: the youth often suffer rocks and blows from Arabs who are fighting to take the land.
Second, “if we weren’t there, then they would move on to destroying the major outposts and sites in the communities on the Talya Sasson list [of communities to be destroyed]. This way, when the authorities go before the High Court, they say their first priority is to deal with us.”
Weiss is right. What she said has been intimated by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the man responsible for recent destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
When I met Barak recently at a memorial service for a shared acquaintance, I asked him the following question:
“Ehud, now that you’ve split off from Labor and you don’t need to appease its members who are hostile to us, give us a break.”
He replied, “you don’t understand,” and hinted at his reason.
After that exchanged I was approached by a veteran activist whose views are considered to be on the far right of the spectrum. He asked me what I had discussed with Barak, and I told him.
“Okay, I can understand that he feels he needs to show he’s doing something,” said the activist, “but why with such brutality? Why with blows?”
Now that we have mounted a defense of the hilltop youth’s activity, here is something to consider in defense of Barak and his associates: the harder the hilltop youth are beaten and the louder their screams are, the less difficulty the government has deflecting pressure from the judicial system and the media. Barak can point at his “accomplishments” and his demolition of illegal building and in the meantime, the building continues.
The hilltop youth are the decoy targets of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria, whether the latter like it or not. The hilltop youth pay the price for it, too, sometimes including justified or unjustified condemnations by the local establishment. On the occasion of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let this much be said in their defense.
NOW WE WILL attempt to find something to say in defense of the Israeli Left, in the tradition of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, who would strive to find any possible source of merit for the Jewish people before Rosh Hashanah.
This particular argument is based on that of Yigal Kutai, an actor and former musician in the band of the IDF Home Front Command who became religious, moved to Kiryat Arba, and for many years served as manager of the cultural center there and has a unique view of his former colleagues on the Left.
Since the redemption of Israel is a gradual and natural process, and natural processes take time, it is important for outside enemies to give us a break sometimes.
Who’s to convince them to do that? The Israeli Left. Every single part of the people of Israel has a function, and the historical role that God gave the Israeli Left is that of misleading the enemy. When enemies see the collaborators among us, they assume that these are an accurate reflection of the country and it’s only a matter of time until Israel gives in and surrenders. With that, they calm down and temporarily leave us alone.