Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Elianna From HaYovel

Linda Gradstein, who, it seems, has left NPR, reports on Why Jewish settlers in the West Bank are looking forward to Benjamin Netanyahu's premiership:

"If We Could, We'd Be Building Like Crazy"

Elianna Passentin says she moved from her native California to this settlement deep in the heart of the West Bank because she wanted to raise her six children in a place tied to Jewish history.

"Looking out our windows, we see Tel Shilo [my home village], which was the capital of the Israelite kingdom for 359 years and the site of the Tabernacle," she says. "In our garden we found dozens of pottery shards from the time of the Bible. Our children learn [the] Bible at home and then they see the Bible out their window."

...Ten of the incoming Knesset members live in the West Bank, and one faction, the National Union, says it will join Netanyahu's government only if it agrees to expand settlements and legalize dozens of outposts like Hayovel...Today there are an estimated 300,000 Jewish settlers in more than 140 settlements in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem...

...Aliza Herbst, the spokeswoman for the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization for the settlers, says Olmert had to personally approve any expansion, "even adding a porch." She says there are hundreds of families that would like to move to settlements in the West Bank but have been unable to find homes. Many of these are young couples who grew up in settlements, married, and now want to build their own homes. This is what settlers call "natural growth."...Settlement spokeswoman Herbst says Netanyahu will have to walk a fine line between expanding settlements and trying not to anger the Obama administration. President Obama has said he supports negotiations leading to an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "I'm not out to make an enemy of America, and Netanyahu will have to be careful," she said. "At the same time, I do expect building on some projects that were frozen to resume."

...Back in Hayovel, Elianna Passentin says that until Netanyahu was elected, she worried that she might have to leave her home. Now she is less worried...

Elianna I recall. I found her here. And here and a pic here.

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