One word to the right person at the right moment can do so much-
When talking about Land for Peace, people use certain phrases and words which Israel sound romantic as historically, this was Israel's direction since 1948. Settling the land of Israel was with the theme of "Chalutz!" This has changed. Israel has officially abandoned this thought process and banned the idea from it's official ideology. However, since the idea is an intrinsically religious value, it has not been abandoned by most Israelis. Aliyah recruiters routinely use precisely this thought process to attract Jews to settle in Israel.
The problem is that the name "settler" has been pirated by the Israeli and Foreign press to create a monster that is out to destroy Israel as an enemy of peace. The very name "settler" or "mitnachalim" in Hebrew, is synonomous with wild religious fanatics who have unjustly uprooted the indigenous local population. All of which is not true at all. However, the so called: "settler" population of these areas refuses to abandon the name. They see themselves as the inheritors of a true religious ideology which Israel has unjustly abandoned not just in name but in spirit as well. Meanwhile from America (and places outside of Israel) these phrases and terms are used daily by the media to destroy Israel and to deride Israeli's who live in the territories as criminals.
1. The word: "Settler"
2. The coined usage of "Settler movement"; "Settler Culture" or "Settler Thinking"
This word in Israel, "mitnachalim" translates to "settler" a carryover of the Chalutz movement days. People in the territories see themselves as being faithful to this mission of "settling the land". As such, they have carried on the Chalutz mission of old (which was mainly communist and non-religious) into the present day. The big difference is that today, it is a mostly religious people who are living in these areas and they are far from the Communist precursors of a previous century both in spirit and philosophy.
What is the problem?
The problem with the word from a PR standpoint is that it implies a temporary state of living. It is a terrible word for the present situation where the government is trying to "prove" to Israelis and people overseas that Jews living in the territories don't belong there and are encroachers on "...Our Arab brothers" land and "Obstacles To Peace".
What is their "proof"?
"Look!" They say: "Even the Jews in these areas use the word "Settler" to describe themselves..." Further they contend: "These renegade Jews are actually Proud of the term!" They are cheats and liars and thieves (therefore). (This is how PM Olmert actually described the Jews in these areas when speaking by Rabins Yortzeit in 2008) (see attached HaAretz and Ynet articles) ("lawless settlers" etc). As such the use of extreme force and covert methods is now justified by Shabak, etc.
The word "Settler" and what it implies and what it is being used for is a PR victory for the other side and has become a PR nightmare for us.
The word and the terms "settler movement" leave one to defend a losing position that is not ours in the first place! A "settler" implies someone who encroached someplace in a questionably legal fashion and is now "taking over" someone else's living area.
Like a homeless person who unlawfully moves into someone else's house.
"Settlers regarded as extremists in Israeli media, launched the "price tag" campaign after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a temporary freeze in West Bank construction late last year." "For those who don't already know, the settlements amount to land grabs. They are modern day colonizing enterprises, being built on the tiny amount of remaining Palestinian land that exists." http://www.salem-news.com/articles/may012010/settler-attack.php \
(Ed. note: Even the file name is: "Settler-attack"! Try and defend that-)
Jewcy.com Political Commentary by Asher Weiss: "Ask the same group about Israeli settlers, however, and you're likely to elicit an overwhelmingly negative response. The word "settler" has become a pejorative term. It is, for many people, including those who are not anti-Israel, synonymous with violent fanatic."
The point is that the use of the word: "Settler" puts our side on the defense.
We need to turn that around.
We Are Not Homeless People Who Illegally Took Over Others Lands And Homes!
In Israel, the historic roots for "settlers" comes from the romantic image promoted by the Chalutz movement. We know that - Today, The Israeli government is unfairly using the term "Settler" in the press because they know the gut wrenching anger these terms cause in the media and overseas. (see HaAretz articles enclosed for example) They do this to speed up the land giveaway process.
Unfortunately, the locals in the Territories and other areas being given away have proudly adopted for themselves this lingo and terminology and they are not even unhappy that the government uses "settler" in reference to them! In fact they are proud of the title. They are completely unaware what the media is doing to them, Israel and Jews the world over-
They never think for a minute that to the media outside and to Israelis the word: "Settler" has come to imply the lowest filth on earth. Thus, they proudly tout the continued use of this word.
Therefore each use of the word from our end only makes things worse.
Even from a Torah standpoint it is not a correct useage. We are "Ezrachim" not temporary dwellers. But people are caught up with the romantic connotations of Israel's early days.
Each interview with a "settler" is a disaster as he or she only exacerbates the situation. While personally asking the viewer to sympathize with her or his plight the interviewer is happily using the word "settler" over and over again to feed anti-semitism and anti-Israeli feelings in the press. While appearing to sympathize with this Jews problems, the message of being a horrid "settler" and not there legally to begin with overides feelings towards the Jew.
The media coup for the "Peace" advocates here is tremendous.
We want your help to turn this around.
There needs to be a campaign to turn this around.
A much better name is: "Ezrach Yisrael" or "Citizen of Israel". Dwellers in the territories are actual "Citizens of Israel". Arabs that have problems with them are "harassers of citizens of Israel". This makes the issue their legal problem, not ours.
By doing this, we take a pro-active media stance that the other side must rush to defend.
If we are citizens, then who are they...?
This undermines the crux of their argument.
First of all, people who live in these areas were put there legally.
They are Citizens of Israel.
They either bought the lands or the houses and land were given by the government for new Olim or people willing to live in the outlying parts of Israel.
Second of all, this is our land not just from 1948, but a gift from G-d forever! (see below)
Third of all this is not a religious issue, but a security issue.
This is the most important point.
We need people to relate to what is going on in a personal way. People living in these areas ensure the security of those people living in (the country of) Tel Aviv. (Medinat Tel Aviv...?)
You cannot imagine how bad this looks over here.
On TV, radio, Internet, News it always: "Settler this" and "Settler that" to imply Israel's unfair occupation of the poor displaced Arab.
I suggest this:
Circulate a letter with this idea.
Get a number of prominent Rabbonim, Big Rebbe's, People who will be listened to, like: Battei Dinim and other people of "koach" from Haredi and Mizrachi Aydot to sign on it. (I would even ask Rav Shachter at YU)
What is better is to ask Rabbanim to make a psak banning the use of the word.
Explain that "Citizen" or אזרח is more biblically appropriate.
Doesn't the Torah call us: "Ezrach HaAretz"? "חוקה אחת יהיה לכם ולגר ולאזרח הארץ".
Also wherever you advertise a page of "key talking points" to discuss with the press, include a note not to use the word: "settler" or "mitnachalim" but rather "Ezrach" (or whatever the modern equivalent is in Hebrew today). Maybe you don't have one- So make one! This point should be On Top!
Video of the Week - Was Yesha Council Working with Shabak To Expel The Citizens of Gush Katif? Watch this fascinating expose using unpublished video footage from Israeli TV
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