Friday, January 13, 2006

"Ouch - This Pigeonhole Is Too Small"

While commenting on a blog a few months ago another person, noticing my name "westbankmama" felt the need to slam the settlers, and came up with an interesting analysis. He said that there are two types - those who decided to live in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza strip because of "idealogical reasons" and those who decided because of "practical reasons" (cheaper homes). According to this commenter, the "idealogical" settlers were crazy and the "practical" settlers were ok - after all, who can blame someone for wanting to buy a cheaper home?

While rushing to brand us all religious fanatics, this person must have tripped over the inconvenient fact that 60% of those living in what people call the west bank do not, in fact, call themselves religious. This apparantly caused him to have to invent a new stereotype.

I didn't have the patience to reply to him, but the question his opinion posed has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. Did he have a point? What are my motivations for living here?

Did I choose to live in the Shomron (Samaria) because I believe that G-d gave the Jews this land and, after our people have spent thousands of years wandering the world, I am unabashadly thrilled to have the opportunity to actually make my home here?

Did I choose to live where I do because I think that I am helping Israel hold on to areas crucial to its security?

Did I choose to live in a yishuv (settlement) because I wanted to raise my kids in a warm, supportive environment, especially in light of the fact that for a number of years I had no extended family here?

Did I choose to live here because I could afford to buy a private home, and not just a small apartment?

Well, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

We are complex human beings who make decisions based on a whole range of factors. Sometimes ideological reasons are in the forefront, sometimes practical ones - and in most cases it is a rather jumbled mess.

The person on the other blog took a somewhat juvenile potshot - but I'm afraid that we all succumb to this immature thinking at least once in a while, and indulge in the "label wars".

I, for one, will try to remember that human beings are too big to fit into pigeonholes.


Blogger AbbaGav said...

Excellent post. Trying to stuff a square pigeon in a round hole never works. Not that you're a square pigeon, it's just a figure of speech.

9:48 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger bec said...

"We are complex human beings who make decisions based on a whole range of factors. Sometimes ideological reasons are in the forefront, sometimes practical ones - and in most cases it is a rather jumbled mess."
this is such a great point. i may have to quote you on this!

11:24 PM, January 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post and I second, gavriel and bec.

9:10 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Gavriel - thanks, (I've been called a lot of things in my life, but a square pigeon isn't one of them!)

Bec - uh, oh, I'm being quoted!

Jaime - thank you for your comment

9:03 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Ze'ev said...

WBM - I think, by coming up with such an insightful point, you have managed to pigeonhole yourself ass being one of the few clear-thinking people left in the world...

5:07 PM, January 15, 2006  
Blogger Pinchas Floyd said...

cheaper homes and the ability to tell people at work you're moving to the west bank just to see the looks on their faces :)

7:48 AM, January 16, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Ze'ev - thanks for the compliment.

Phishaliyah - When we told people in the Mercaz Klita where we were moving we received a number of those looks ("But they seemed like such NORMAL people")

9:03 AM, January 16, 2006  
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