A century ago the chalutzim were brave young men and women from Europe who lived the 1800 year old dream (at that point) of returning to rebuild Jewish life in Israel. They lived under terrible conditions and faced constant attacks from local Arabs but through the stiff-necked stubborness that has been the Jewish people's greatest asset when channeled in the right direction, they built up our Land and laid the groundwork for the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.
Today, they would be perceived as wild-eyed fanatics, maniacs roaming the hills with weapons and nothing better to do than terrorize the poor, local Arabs who only want to live in peace.
It's easy to say that too, because that's how the media loves to portray those Jews whose ongoing sin is to live in areas of the British mandate that Israel was preventing from taking control of in 1949 by a United Nations that was already regretting creating the opportunity for the State to be created in the first place.
As Gary Rosenblatt notes, the settlers are not what you'd think they are from CNN's terrible coverage:
They are not wild-eyed zealots or prone to violent attacks on Arab neighbors. They are American-born professionals who made aliyah for religious, idealistic and Zionist reasons, believing that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and that it is a mitzvah and extraordinary blessing, after centuries of exile and persecution, to be a citizen of the Jewish state.Most of these friends have become increasingly critical of Mideast peace talks over the years, asserting that while the majority of Israelis accept the premise of a two-state solution and have shown their willingness, repeatedly, to make compromises, the Palestinian response is always “no” and “we want more.” As a result, these friends are highly critical of
American efforts as naïve at best, and they are cynical about the international community’s condemnations of Israel, out of all logic and proportion.
Here's the bottom line: between 1949 and 1967, only Pakistin and Britain recognized Jordan's annexation of Yehuda and Shomron. No one recognized Egypt's control of 'Aza. Nor did anyone talk about how these territories were "occupied Palestine". Indeed, back then pre-1967 Israel was "occupied Palestine". The 6 Day War simply completed the job the Israelis were prevented from finishing 18 years earlier. Thus those Jews living in Yehuda, Shomron and, until recently, 'Aza were not illegally occupying a foreign state. They were living on land promised to them in two separate internationally binding agreements that the world community forgets about when inconvenient.
They are not (mostly) wide-eyed fanatics. They are not, as Rosenblatt notes, the evil obstacle to peace that the left-wing Jewish community thinks they are, courtesy of Arab propaganda:
One of the sharpest divides between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox segments of American Jewry is in their attitudes toward the settlements. For the Orthodox, who often visit friends, former neighbors and family members living in places like Efrat, Ma’aleh Adumim and the Old City of Jerusalem, all over the Green Line, these are lovely Jewish communities inhabited by responsible citizens devoted to their families, their work, and society.But as a Reform leader told me the other day, “our people have little sympathy for those living in the settlements,” acknowledging that their perception is more of young fanatics in isolated outposts clashing with Arabs and the IDF than of families — many of them secular — going about their daily lives, as in most suburbs.
They are today's chalutzim, the Jews who are reclaiming our land through their stubborness and desire to build it up. As a reward for their efforts, we should be supporting them in any way we can.