Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elul/Shabbat Short Takes

A family weekend begins this afternoon, and so I will be away until Saturday Night. I would like to wish my readers, of whatever religion or ideology, a Shabbat Shalom.

Yesterday was the first day of the month of Elul, the final month of the Jewish calendar before Rosh Hashanah (the New Year). Elul is traditionally a month of heshbon nefesh, of spiritual reckoning. That will be the theme of many of my posts in the coming month.

Today I just want to draw your attention to a major population survey of the West Bank settlers that Haaretz is publishing. The translation into English isn't available, but keep your eyes open. Here is the Hebrew for one of the articles

Some of the statistics are disturbing -- if we are talking about reckoning, consider the following statistic: most of the West Bank settlements are outside (to the East) of Israel's West Bank wall, although most of the West Bank settlers are inside the Wall. That is because most of them live in the settlement blocs close to the Green Line. But anybody who thinks that it will be easy to remove the settlements beyond the West Bank wall is kidding himself.

Of course, I don't think anybody is moving, so the point is theoretical.

The other reckoning is that the fastest growing segment of west bank settlers -- in fact, the fast growing population in Israel today -- is the haredi (ultra-orthodox population.) They are not considered ideological settlers -- they move to the communtities because of cheap mortgages and heavy government subsidies -- but they will also be hard to move.

I lead off with that news-item because this morning the headline of Yediot screamed: "Scoop! Abu Mazen and Olmert are negotiating secretly the final status". Let's see...two weak politicians who will not be able to conclude an agreeement, and if they manage to do that, they will not be able to carry it out, and if they manage against all odds to that, it won't hold.

At least I didn't buy Yediot...

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