Monday, March 06, 2006

"Building Bridges"

Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun of Gush Etzion, one of the lone voices of moderation and sanity in the emerging wilderness of the settlement community as the "state of Judea"-mentality encroaches on what used to be Religious Zionism, has announced he is supporting- but not joining- Kadima.

Of course, following this it's politics as usual- Kadima's supporters are trying to emphasize Bin-Nun's "hill cred", while the radicalized ideological settlers are pointing out that none of them have been listening to him (or his fellow moderate, Yuval Cherlo from Petah Tivka) for around ten years, since they came out in favor of Oslo. (Although I'm not actualy sure that either of those guys did that. Will do some digging.)

Whatever. I don't think Olmert is going to be getting much of the settler vote, particularly after the Amona disaster. What's important is that mafdal moderates like Bin-Nun, who do represent SOME people among the ideological settlers, are speaking out and proclaiming their existence. Even if it doesn't translate to political points, it's a very significant move to make, symbolically. Furthermore, it reaffirms that some settlers actually do realize that more land is going to have to be ceded to the Palestinians, if not now then in the future. At least Bin-Nun is actually aware of which way the wind is blowing and trying to get himself in Olmert's corner. That way he can actually fight for settlements that have a chance of being absorbed into Israel (like, say, Gush Etzion), not demographically-tiny, strategically-insignificant, and territorially-incontinguous (in relation to the Green Line) places like, say, Mehola or Kalia, or, I don't know, Hebron (which is spiritually significant to Jews, but fulfills none of the three previously-mentioned categories).

Some may also recall that Bin-Nun was one of the very few in the mafdal camp to ask some very difficult questions after Rabin's death. It was all quashed, of course, but I get the impression that the guy's doing the best he can to be a source of reason among a community growing increasingly hostile to him and his ideology.

Good on you, Rabbi Bin-Nun. Don't let the radicals hijack your voice, or your movement.



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