Confession of a Settler

Hey you, what’s new?
Not much, except your new land grab.
That’s why you’re calling? It’s Rosh Hashanah.
I know. So why now, the whole world is against us anyway?

Listen to me: stop whining and come back home to Eretz Yisrael. Let the dogs bark all they want, you hear me, our caravan is moving on. Ever heard of this Arabian proverb: The dogs bark but the caravan moves on? That’s our motto here, and our mojo too. I like it so much, it’s hanging on the wall of our trailer, which is also our command center. Nothing better to illustrate our policy and activity in Judea and Samaria of settling our forefathers’ land, you hear me? I will not be surprised if this old saying is hanging on the walls of the Prime Minister as well. Because more than anything else it sums up our settlement endeavor. The hell with what the world thinks.

But why now?

Here you go again: you have to hit them when they’re down, when the iron is hot. Otherwise, they’ll never learn. Which, come to think of it, is actually a good thing. After all, they’re just Arabs. Look at how they’re going about beheading people left and right. Case in point: our latest announcement, right after we crushed the Hamasniks in Gaza. We give them the whole shebang now: the largest land grab for the biggest settlement in 30 years. How that for a Rosh Hashanah present, I ask you? That’s why now, man, don’t you understand? Everything I have to spell out for you. It always was like that with you. This is not the kibbutz, bro, this is the goddamn Middle East. It is burning; it is exploding! About time you come back home and join the fight, and the fun too, instead of criticizing and asking all these stupid questions.

Wait, don’t hang up. What about the Palestinians who own the land?

They don’t own any land, you idiot, it’s our land. All of it! Read the bible again, instead of the New York Times and Haaretz, it will do you good, believe me. Everything is written there, black on white. No need to go online for it, either. Do you still have the bible there?


Then read, man, read it every day. Not just on the holidays. And I tell you something else, too: this is our revenge and retaliation for the killing of the three teenage brothers from our Yeshiva. Blessed be their memory and their spirits up in heaven. Thankfully, it also brought about that mini war in Gaza. We wanted a bigger one, mind you, an annihilation war, but Netanyahu was running scared. So now he pays for it with this new settlement. But don’t get me wrong man: there is a grand old plan here.

What plan?

Greater Israel. Ever heard of it? From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Jabotinsky is dancing the hora in his grave as we speak. It’s all in the pudding, man, the way you say it over there in America. We make it impossible for your president and what’s his name, the tall Don Quixote guy?

John Kerry.

Right. They can’t even think again of the Two-State solution. Gone, baby, gone. Kaput. Dead in the Dead Sea. So who’s going to stop us? President Obama, don’t make me laugh. He tried, didn’t he? But he’s afraid of AIPAC, and too occupied with all the other problems – ISIS or ISIL, you name it – that’s on his plate now. Don’t you see his black hair turning white? Netanyahu is a much better politician, you know, and even more popular in the American Congress. We’re sending him there pretty soon to fix things.

But condemnation are coming from Europe, too, don’t you–

So what? Let the dogs bark, told you that already. Are you deaf or something? You’re getting old fast there in the diaspora, man. Come breathe the fresh air of the rolling Judean hills, it will make you young again. And consider this, too: Did they ever really stop us settlers from doing God’s work? Of course not. We showed them the middle finger, the way we did with the latest peace negotiations. Who killed it, you ask? We did! So what if the Europeans condemn us and demand a reversal of the decision. F*ck them. It will never happen. Let them deal with the rise of antisemitism in their countries. Which we, of course, have nothing to do with. Let them boycott us all they want. It helps our cause.

How come?

Come here, my friend, and you’ll see for yourself. I hear more French now than English, almost more than Hebrew even. This new large settlement we’re going to build, it’s for all the Jewish people running away from France and making Aliya. We need to house them, man, we need to feed them. So you Jews in American, send us your money and shut up. And know this, too: the more antisemitism there in the old country, the more Jews we have here in the Holy Land. Simple as milk and honey. So let them bark to their heart content – we will continue to build and settle. Our caravan is moving on.

I hear you. But where to?

To the Promised Land, man, where else. When are you going to grow up? I’m losing hope of ever seeing you again. Remember the old song, “We’re both from the same Village?” Naomi Shemer, our national poet, remember her? So make a bonfire, why don’t you, and sing it the way we used to back then in the army. It will do you good!

Okay, I will. But aren’t you already there, in the Promised Land?

Not yet, man, not yet. Way to go. We will stop moving only when the whole of Judea and Samaria is settled by Jews. When that job is done, we’ll throw out all these Arabs who are now building our settlements to the other side of the Jordan River. Those who choose to stay will continue to do the dirty work for us, while we’re busy studying the Torah, and our wives are busy giving birth to the multitude of Jews who shall inherit the land. Only then the Messiah will come.

But aren’t you afraid of hitting the abyss suddenly with your caravan?

I’m not afraid of anything, and our caravan is in no danger of hitting the abyss anytime soon. God is on our side, don’t you see? He will tell us when to stop, just the way he tells us not to stop right now. Not to listen to all the goyim, or people like you, self-hating Jews. This is our land, man, he gave it to us in the bible. We’re just reclaiming it, that’s all. Screw the Europeans, what do they know anyhow, except giving home to all those Muslim infidels who now threaten not only the Middle East, but all their beautiful cultural cities: London, Berlin, and Paris. Soon they will have Muslim majority there. So they can bark all they want; we know they cannot bite. We are moving on. So have a good year, my friend, and say hi to the wife and kids. I’m hanging up. Shana Tova!

About the Author
Hillel Damron was born in Kibbutz Hephzibah to parents who survived the Holocaust; he was an officer of elite paratroop unit who was wounded in battle; studied film and became a director of TV documentaries, video shorts and a feature film. Damron is the author of three novels, short stories and a political blog; winner of Moment Magazine’s 2011 Memoir Contest and is the past executive director of the Hillel House, at University of Davis, California.