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Israeli Settlers | Settlements Part 3

After learning about what the settlements are and how they came to be, part 3 of this miniseries explores who lives in these settlements. As it turns out, the group of people who live in Israeli settlements is quite diverse, spanning the religious and political spectrum; the stereotypical “settler” may not be the most prevalent. Use this video and the prompts below to help your students flex their empathy muscles and learn about the polychromatic people of Israel.

  • Review
  • Discussion
  • Reflection
  • Further Reading
  1. What was Gush Emunim?
  2. Name one Jewish city or town in the West Bank.
  3. Name one Palestinian city or town in the West Bank.
  4. Under which prime minister did the settlement movement expand most?
    • Yitzhak Rabin
    • Golda Meir
    • Shimon Peres
    • Menachem Begin
  5. Settlements make up what percentage of the West Bank?
    • 5%
    • 10%
    • 25%
    • 50%
  1. If “settlers” are a diverse group of people of different social, political and religious backgrounds, why do you think people often have a monolithic image of a “settler” in mind? What factors contribute to this stereotype?
  2. Many people live in settlements for non-political/ideological reasons, such as affordability, convenience, religious seclusion, or simply being close to family. Should this affect how the world views “settlers,” or are “settlers” perpetrators of this great conflict no matter what drives them to live where they do?
  3. Look at this picture of Rabbi Menachem Froman and then read this article about him. Does anything surprise you about him? What does this tell us about preconceptions and what can we do to make sure we don’t judge people’s perspectives based on appearances alone?
  4. If the Israeli Supreme Court maintains that there are some legal settlements and some illegal ones, while the general consensus from the international community, based on the Fourth Geneva Convention, argues that settlements are illegal, to what extent should the Israeli community care about what the international community thinks? What are reasons to consider the perspective of international law, and what are reasons to ignore it and argue against it?
  5. Contrast our video with this New York Times video on “settlers.” Debate with one another as to which of these videos gives a more honest and accurate account of the settler experience and the reasons behind their presence.
  1. What was your perception of “settlers” before watching this video? Did the video confirm, challenge or deepen this initial perception?
  2. If you lived in Israel, could you see yourself living in a settlement? Why or why not?
  3. Look up the term settler on Wikipedia. Now, consider the Jewish residents in the West Bank living there. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine why the term “settler” might feel unfair and inaccurate to them.
  4. If you could ask Israeli “settlers” three questions about their living location, what would they be?
  5. When people talk about empathy in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s often easier to extend empathy to the Palestinian people. What are ways and reasons to extend empathy to Jewish residents of the West Bank, often referred to as “settlers”?

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Don’t miss this great opportunity to deepen your students’ appreciation for Israel and for our planet.