Sunday, September 07, 2008

Settler girls

The new school year has started (in preparation for the new Jewish Year) and with it the bnot sherut (National Service girls) have come in force to our village. Last year the majority of the girls were sefardim, a bunch of them coming from the lower north (Haifa Krayot etc..). This year we have a complete turn around. While we haven't met all of the firls yet, it seems that the girls are predominently ashkenazi. We had 2 of them over for friday night dinner, very friendly girls. The 2 we had over, and at least 3 others, are settlers from Karnei Shomron and the Kochav Yair area. I asked them if they noticed a significant difference between where they are from and the Galil. The surprising answer was -- There are a lot more Arabs in the Galil. I don't know if that is true, but the Galilean arabs are a lot more visible then those over the green line.

Before Oslo, the Arabs over the green line were visible as well. Life was similar to how it is now in the Galilee, Jews and Arabs were on friendly terms they shopped in each others stores and drank thick, bad-tasting coffee together. It was only after we started the peace process that the real hostilities began (Thank you Meretz et al). Now the Arabs and the Jews on that side of the country are openly hostile to one another. Jews entering Kalkilya, once a popular shopping spot for Jewish settlers, are in danger of getting physically attacked and ripped apart, as happened a couple years ago in Jenin. Lets hope we don't try and make peace the the Arabs in the Galilee, that will really open up a can of worms.

There is a big demographic problem in the Galilee. 52% of the population is Arab, including Muslim, Christian and Druze. They are not content to live in their villages and build illegally as they have been doing for years, now they are trying to take over Jewish villages by buying homes and apartments. The real problem is that not enough Jews are moving to the Galilee and that leaves the space wide open for Arabs to buy apartments in Jewish cities. There are a couple programs working on strengthing the Galil and increasing immigration. Lets hope it's not too little too late.

In any case, there is a bet in the community how long it will take the settler girls to bring in a couple caravans, put them on the wadi and call it our outpost.


Rafi G. said...

how can you (by you I do not mean "you", but galilee council or government or whoever does these things) make the galilee more appealing to Jews from other parts of the country to consider it as a potential place for residing, and not just for vacationing?

rockofgalilee said...

A lot of Israelis dream of living in the Galil/Golan when they retire. This is the vacation spot, the question is why aren't people moving here.

1) Jobs. Industry in the north is not nearly what it is in the center of the country. If the country or the region gave significant benefits to companies that open in the north, more people would come. They could do this until the situation stabilized and the north was equal with the center.

2) Education. We have much fewer choices for education. The government could provide a number of extra services, even though there are not enough students to justify it, just to show that the services exist and convince people to come and use them.

3) Marketing. There is absolutely no marketing from communities in the north (atm) for people to come live here.

Anonymous said...

Please have a look at Table 2.8 - Localities and Population, by Population Group, District, Sub-District and Natural region at
from the Statistical Abstract of Israel 2007 - and show me how you get to the 80-20 percent demographic.

rockofgalilee said...

It's a numbewr I've heard thrown around. Thanks for checking the accuracy. I changed it to 52% as per the link you posted and wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

From CBS article translated by Globes before Rosh Hashanah Sept 24
"Half of Israel's Jewish population lives in the center of the country - 20.7% in the Tel Aviv district and 27.8% in the central district. Less than 10% of the Jewish population lives in the north. In contrast, the bulk of the Arab population lives in outlying areas - 45% in the northern district and 11% in the southern district. More than half of the population in the northern district is Arab (53%), whereas 90% of the population in the central district and 93% of the population in the Tel Aviv district is Jewish."
(perishable link)