‘An extreme fringe’

‘An extreme fringe’

Even as one who has frequently disagreed with the settlement movement over the years, I feel your June 26 cover story unfairly maligned the settlement movement as a whole.

The followers of the Hilltop Youth and Rabbi Ginzburgh represent an extreme fringe within the settlement movement. Most settlers live within areas that will be eventually annexed under any Israeli government. Others live in areas where there must be a Jewish presence to allow access to places of religious and historical importance to the Jewish people. The greater majority have done either hesder or regular army service. While violence and vandalism unfortunately does exist, it pales in comparison to violence done against them.

Having said that, the reason such a small minority has been able to exist is the failure of the mainstream settlement movement (Yesha Council) and its supporters in America to speak out against them. The illegal settlers associated with the group should not be able to use the power and sewer lines of legal settlements. They should not be receiving money from American Jews. Furthermore, everyone living there must obey Israeli law. If you are receiving protection from the Israeli army, you don’t have the right to flout the authority of the army or disobey it. To enable a violent and extremist element to exist, the Yesha Council and the supporters in America are enabling a cancer to grow both within the settlement movement and within Orthodox Judaism.