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Haaretz Journalist Fears ‘Settler Takeover’

Haaretz’s Gideon Levy, whose articles often even shock some of his left-wing readers, fears a ”hostile takeover” of Israel by “settlers.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/31/2011, 1:41 PM

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
Flash 90

Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, whose articles often even shock some of his left-wing readers, fears a ”hostile takeover” by “settlers” who he says are taking over Israel.

He granted that “settlers’ -- meaning Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria as well as parts of Jerusalem he wants to be part of a Palestinian Authority state -- have a legal right to wield influence in Israel.

Despite their rights, Levy asserted that “anyone with a conscience and anyone who is worried about the character of the state has a duty to try to stop this hostile takeover."

“After the hostile takeover of the West Bank, comes the takeover of the state… by a marginal minority, around 100,000 ideological settlers in all, … trying to gain control of a country with a population of seven million.”

He fears they are using an ”occupation” in the IDF, where he charged “their soldiers and officers are already nearly everywhere.”

He apparently was referring to military reports the past few years that approximately one-third of new officers wear a kippa, which left-wing urban Israelis often identify with “national religious” Jews although a vast majority of the national religious community lives outside of Judea and Samaria.

Levy is also frightened that the same Jews are making inroads into civilian positions. “It's not enough for them to head the local government councils in the territories -- now they're aiming for seats of power within Israel, so that they can shape its image. After taking the West Bank region of Gush Etzion, now they want the Tel Aviv region of Gush Dan,” he wrote.

Part of the increased influence simply comes from the fact that the national religious birthrate is far above that of the secular community.

The apppointment last week of Gush Etzion leader Shaul Goldstein as chairman of the Nature and Parks Authority apparently set off Levy’s fuse.

He dreads an even "worse" influence, in his eyes – Noam Sohlberg, a national religious Jew, on the High Court.

A recent Haaretz editorial expressed horror at some of his rulings, such as permitting an Israeli who dodged the draft to be stripped of his passport and frequently awarding compensation to the plaintiffs for libel instead of “upholding freedom of the press.”

Levy labeled Sohlberg a “criminal”” because he lives in Alon Shvut, a Jewish community that is part of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem.

The journalist charged that a third of the community "is on private Palestinian land gained through bald trickery and, later, force or deception,” and that therefore Sohlberg “cannot be a judge in a law-abiding country. Not because of the kippa on his head, but rather because he is a criminal in the eyes of international law and universal justice.”

Since “the settlements are a despicable enterprise based on violence, ultra-nationalism and breaking the law,” Levy apparently thinks their residents should not influence the country.

He concluded, “Every settler has this mark of Cain on their brow. Now ask yourselves: Do you really want to live in a country where the heads of this enterprise allocate its lands, plan its nature sites, rule on its laws and are increasingly controlling its lifestyles?”

One of the complaints by national religious Jews – as well as many more mainstream traditional-secular Israelis – the past few years is that a left-wing establishment imposes its lifestyle through its long-time positions of power in the media, courts, universities and conglomerates.