Monday, June 29, 2009

The Durn "Natural Growth"

With women having an average of eight children each, the ultra-Orthodox communities of Betar Illit and Modiin Illit are case studies for the Christian Science Monitor's Joshua Mitnick who notes that "the settlement issue is not getting any easier".

In two Israeli settlements, a booming demand for more space

...As the Obama administration pushes for a total West Bank settlement freeze and Israel insists on allowing continued expansion inside existing settlements, Beitar and a second ultra-religious city, Modiin Illit, illustrate the roots of the dispute over Israeli development on land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

...because these settlements are located relatively close to Israel proper, an agreement on a border modification and land swap is a realistic option for resolving the dispute here. Even though they have moved into the vortex of a decades-old geopolitical dispute, the residents of these communities are not nationalists like those at the forefront Jewish settler movement who seek territorial expansion.

"We didn't come here for politics or to fight. We want to live in the land of Israel, but it doesn't matter where – east or west," says Beitar Illit Mayor Meir Rubenstein. "To our great misfortune, the government put us here and now we're stuck with Obama."

That's why I have problems with Hareidim. They're self-centered, lacking any sense of the true sanctity of the Land of Israel and they don't tell the truth in full. They knew exactly what Betar Illit was all about.

Beitar Illit is about a 20-minute drive southwest of Jerusalem. The settlement looks out onto hilltops dotted by red-roofed houses that are part of the "Etzion bloc," a group of suburban settlements which left-wing Israeli governments have sought to annex in a land swap with Palestinians in previous negotiations.

The annual population growth in Beitar is nearly twice the overall rate of about 5 percent for the West Bank settlements. Mr. Rubenstein complained that Beitar Illit is planned to include 10,000 housing units, but there are permits for only 7,000 – the remainder are on hold until further notice.

...Because strictly religious Jewish groups seek to block out trappings of modernity, they prefer to live in closed communities where advertising is tailored to their sensibilities and cable or satellite TV infrastructure is banned. Combined with the fact that Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit have the highest reproductive rate in the country of about eight children per woman, that has created surging demand for residential units.

Despite the slump in real estate prices around the world, values in Beitar Illit are climbing. Fraida Sterka, a local broker, said that prices have gone up 5 percent in the last two months...


yoni said...

"That's why I have problems with Hareidim. They're self-centered, lacking any sense of the true sanctity of the Land of Israel and they don't tell the truth in full."

reb yisroel, i too live in shilo, and i am certainly no haredi. furthermore, i have great respect for your person and your blog, and agree in large part with your expressed positions. however, i respectfully submit that generalizations such as the above do nothing to further the cause of ahavat either sense of the term, um...yisroel. let's try and stick together as much as possible, yes? there aren't that many of us, after all, and a blog is a public forum, as you may have temporarily forgotten.

anyway, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

"...lacking any sense of the true sanctity of the Land of Israel..."

You lost me there. How does wanting to live on and populate our Land constitute a "lack" of anything, let alone a "sense of the true sanctity of the Land?"

And, though I don't live there, yoni's comments resonate with me.

dmetz said...

Good article in the LA times - now we need the government of Israel to start pointing this out when ever they have the chance. I assume you had space limitations but one thing I would throw in, UNSC resolution 242 is specifically worded with the assumption that Israel would not return all of the land conquered in 1967. If it is not returning all the land - that means that it is allowed to keep some under 242 and if it is keeping some, then obviously can do with it as it likes including settle it.

YMedad said...

Yoni, I wrote "Hareidim" not "the Hareidim" nor "all the Hareidim". And with the experience you know I have in the political arena, take the Shas sabotage of our efforts to halt Olso, I am not wrong.

YTBA, did you read the entire article?

David, of course your point is important and yes, I had only 1000 words

yoni said...

i know the shasnikim are commonly lumped in with the haredim, but this only convinces me the term is losing all meaning in modern israel, making an even stronger case for avoiding generalizations.

until i see my first morroccan jew in a striemel, i will continue to think of the shasniks as a fundamentalist movement, originally under the auspices of the true haredim, which was a reaction and protest against the criminal treatment of the mizrachi immigrants of the 50's by the secular authorities. if you still feel i need correction on this matter i will accept your rebuke. but so far i think saying "the haredim" when one means "the shas political leadership" is misleading at the very least.

peas. :)

yoni said...

how about "the haredi political leadership and their former lackeys, shas"?