Feature

Israel: Not all settlers are fanatics

What people across the world, including most on the Israeli left, don’t realize is that I and many of my neighbors did not originally intend to become settlers, said Avinoam Sharon in Ha’aretz.

Avinoam SharonHa’aretz

I admit it: I am a Jewish settler, said Avinoam Sharon. For many people across the world, including most on the Israeli left, that makes me “the embodiment of all that is wrong and unjust.” What they don’t realize is that I and many of my neighbors did not originally intend to become settlers.

As a young couple, my wife and I wanted to live in Jerusalem, where we grew up, but we couldn’t afford to. For a Jerusalem apartment, we would have had to produce a 60 percent down payment, whereas if we built a home in an “area of national priority,” as the settlements were then called, the government would subsidize 85 percent of the cost. As it happened, we built in an area that the Israeli Supreme Court and even the U.N. determined was a legal site for Jewish homes.

But I believe that Zionism “is about Jewish national sovereignty in the Jewish homeland, not about its specific borders”; if my government tells me that Israel’s interests lie in relinquishing this territory, I’ll leave my home. In the meantime, have the courtesy not to treat me as a pariah.

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