Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Move East, Young Jews

From a Christian Science Monitor story:

..."Around 1981, many Israelis started moving out for better housing and the general environment – quality-of-life settlers – and that represents the majority who are coming now," says Michael Feige, a sociologist and anthropologist at Ben-Gurion University and author of the recently published "Settling in the Hearts: Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories."

"Economically, it's a good deal to go to the settlements. It always has been," he says. But whereas moving to a settlement once meant living a slightly more precarious existence, it's now becoming a largely safe, suburban one. Settlements in commuting distance to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are particularly popular.

"There are places where the metropolis is moving east," says Professor Feige. So settlements feel so close for commuters that "people moving there don't think they're moving to the West Bank."

...This brings with it a shift in how settlements figure in the Israeli psyche. "The ideological tension today is much lower than it was 20 or 30 years ago," notes Feige, "[when] it threw the whole future of Zionism and Israel's raison d'ĂȘtre into question. And today, it's seen as just one issue. After so many years of arguing on the subject, Israelis are tired of it."

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