The Occupation Times: Ofra, Migron, Hebron, Gaza and a Splash of Optimism

Ofrah is illegal. Not just under international law, like all settlements – but also under Israeli law. The evidence is piling up.

Ofrah, near Ramallah, was the first bridgehead of the Gush Emunim movement in West Bank hills north of Jerusalem. Recently human-rights activists have succeeded in prying information on the settlement from government repositories, relying on the Freedom of Information Act. The evidence shows that most of the settlement is built on land owned by other people.

The latest report was published today by B’Tselem. Using land registry documents, the organization found that most of the land on which the settlement stands is registered as the property of individual Palestinians. Besides that, the settlement lacks any of the basic town planning approval necessary for construction. Built on stolen land, without permits, the comfortable bourgeois neighborhood is in fact a crime made tangible – and a prime example of how the settlement effort has corroded the rule of law.

In 2001,26 years after Ofrah was founded, the next generation of settlers set up the outpost of Migron. As AP’s Matti Friedman reported a few days ago,

Read moreThe Occupation Times: Ofra, Migron, Hebron, Gaza and a Splash of Optimism

Divine Press Office: Defense Team Fired

"The Tzvi Yehudah tape" – that’s the name my son immediately gave the recording of John Hagee explaining the Holocaust as God’s way of forcing the Jews to return. He was referring to Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, the spiritual father of the Gush Emunim movement.

Tzvi Yehudah Kook was the teacher of many of the rabbis who have continued to created the theology of the religious right in Israel – a theology in which all political developments point to approaching redemption and in which Jewish possession of the entire Land of Israel has been transformed into the supreme commandment. He is the central figure in propagating a radical, theologized nationalism as Judaism.

And my son is right: Tzvi Yehudah Kook gave practically the same theological explanation of the Holocaust as Hagee does:

Read moreDivine Press Office: Defense Team Fired