A Settlement Shabbat
Like I said once,
either the Muqata looks like
a cluster of caravans on a hilltop...
or it looks like Alon Shvut.
Amshinover was right. The Muqata is really really normal. Frighteningly normal, when you look around at suburban paradise and the kids playing outside after hearing Jameel's stories of the early Intifāḍä II and driving to work wearing a bullet-proof vest and an inch-thick-plastic-visor helmet. And the hostility of the Palestinian Arabs in the next village over. You know, the kind of thing that makes it hard to sleep at night because you're worried about unfriendly people with weapons looking through the window. And when you're not worried about getting killed, you're worried about accidentally outing yourself as a "leftist" in the middle of a settlement full of ideologically-motivated immigrants.
However, (ir)rational fears aside, it was a pretty good Shabbos. No one I met said any of the extreme kinds of comments ("’itbaḥ al‘arab", for instance) that I'm used to hearing from certain settler-wannabes I know in the States. The food was great, especially the barbecue chicken made by Jameel on Friday afternoon right before Shabbos.
Jameel and all his family are really nice, and surprisingly open about his blog. I think at least 80% of the people we talked to over Shabbat made some kind of comment about "Jameel this" or "Jameel that" or "why don't you talk about ______ on your blog, what's it called again, with that Arabic name?" Jameel was packing heat all Shabbos, which both made me feel safe, and made me feel worried about the fact that weaponry was needed at all.
On Saturday Night we drove around, and Jameel showed me the various nearby settlements. We went up to a nearby hilltop and hung out with the people who lived there for a little bit. The hippy-peios'd youngsters were sitting around a campfire making tea and singing Havdala songs when they weren't showing us around and introducing us to the soldiers there to protect them. And the scenery was literally breath-taking.
I'm beginning to understand why people are so in love with living up here.
In other news, I got the people at the