Radical Jewish settlers are turning against Israel.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Yitzhar, West Bank
he Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in this
Jewish settlement looks more like
a well-fortified auto repair shop
than a house of learning.
Located in an industrial neighborhood,
the yeshivah has a drab aluminum exte-
rior and tin roof, surrounded by a metal
gate. A small guard house sits out front.
The teenage boys wearing oversized,
thick-knit kipot and their teachers have
become the face of radical Jewish nation-
alism in Israel.
They are a key part of a movement of
settler youth, rabbis, leaders and sup-
porters determined to hold onto the West
Bank at any cost. Radical settlers rampage
against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers,
sometimes hiding their faces behind black Yisrael Ariel stands above the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.
ski masks or scarves. Confident they are
God's will," said Moshe Fumberg, 16, who
movement, and their precise number is
following the word of God, they call for a
at a yeshivah at an illegal outpost
Torah-based theocracy that they say will
one day triumph over the State of Israel.
Fumberg's friends boast they represent
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, a teacher at Od Yosef Israeli security forces, have fueled debate
bolder generation of Jewish settlers
Chai, says Israel has lost its way with its
use violence to keep West Bank
willingness to cede parts of the Land of
Israel, the Jews' biblical birthright.
to be afraid of us
Ariel is a disciple of the St. Louis-born
there won't be any
head of the yeshivah, Rabbi Yitzhak
Ginzburg. Considered a spiritual heir to
the late Meir Kahane, Ginzburg gained
notoriety — and some jail time — in
1994 after penning an article praising
consume alternative media, including
not about principle — all believe in the
Baruch Goldstein's killing of 29 Muslim
newspapers, Web sites, radio stations and
worshipers in Hebron.
synagogue pamphlets, that feed into their
Israel — but about practice: how exactly
Ginzburg preaches a messianic brand
sense of alienation and betrayal. In their
of Judaism that views Jews as superior
"The Yesha Council" — the main settler synagogues, rabbis rail against cooperat-
beings and violent revenge attacks on
ing with a government that supports West
umbrella body — "thinks that it is not the
Arabs as justified by the Torah. He is one
right time to build and settle on all of the
of a small group of rabbis who provides
"If the State of Israel is criminal and a
Land of Israel, but the radicals think there
the theological and ideological underpin-
sinner, then the role of true believers is
is no such thing as the 'right' timing and
nings for radical settlers.
to correct its ways',' explains Motti Inbari,
there is no need to take into account poli-
The foot soldiers in the movement are
author of the upcoming book Jewish
youths who grow up or study in places like tics and policies," Sharon said.
Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount.
Dror Etkes, who works for an Israeli
Yitzhar. Some go on to seize and establish
"This is pushing people into radicalization
illegal outposts on lone West Bank hilltops. group called Yesh Din that promotes
and into the idea of a post-Zionist state."
Palestinian rights in the West Bank, esti-
Like its predecessors, Benjamin
Over the last year and a half, radical set-
Netanyahu's government has taken limited mated that there are up to 1,000 active
tlers have defaced Muslim tombstones, set
radicals. Posters hung in recent days at
steps to dismantle the illegal outposts
fire to Palestinian olive groves, assaulted
— notably in the weeks since Netanyahu's bus stops across the West Bank calling on
Palestinians, slashed tires of Israel
supporters to "defend" against evacuation
meeting with President Obama in May
Defense Forces vehicles and thrown acid
of West Bank outposts say there are 2,000
— but the youths return almost as soon
at Israeli soldiers. It's all part of a strategy
people living in 26 outposts.
as they are forcibly evacuated.
"I feel the state has separated itself from the radicals call"price tag': which aims
Radicals often are dismissed as rogue,
to greet every move by the government
me and is no longer going according to
fringe elements by the mainstream settler
July 16 •2009
against illegal settlements with mayhem
and violence. Radical youth, encouraged
by a small number of veteran settler lead-
ers, are at the forefront of this effort.
Via text messages and with special
phone lists, they spread plans for specific
activities. Sometimes, the message is as
simple as three words: "Price tag now."
Settler violence quickly follows.
There is no apparent centralized
leadership in the radical settler move-
ment, which by its nature is somewhat
anarchic. Among its most outspoken
proponents, however, are figures such as
Daniella Weiss, the former head of the
Kedumim settlement, Hebron's Baruch
Marzel and Nadia Matar, head of Women
Both Matar and Weiss head groups that
signed onto the posters calling on settlers
to defend the outposts. Matar, who says
she is against violence, understands why
the youth have decided to "fight back."
"They have seen the adults capitulate
— their rabbis and teachers and parents
who tell them to turn the other cheek," she
said. "There is rebellion of youth who are
sick and tired of seeing the adults caving
in and letting the government trample us.
The more adults show real leadership and
stick to our principles, the less they will
feel a need to rebel." E
This is the third and final part of a Jewish
Telegraphic Agency series.