“Haaretz” correspondent Alex Somech reports in the June 5th issue of “Haaretz” that in recent months “Peace Now” has organized 4 bus trips for new immigrants to see settlements. Mossy Raz, Political Secretary Peace Now, told Somech that Peace Now has raised several hundred thousand shekels “and we plan to bring thousands of immigrants, who are principally exposed to the Right, to see what is happening here.”

Somech joined a bus trip and reports that – “What really interested the immigrants was principally the prices of housing in the settlements. ‘The government gives grants to those who come to live there,’ explained Raz, ‘for 40 thousand dollars it is possible to buy a house, but more than 5,000 houses stand empty and there are no buyers.’ He added ‘when Yitzhak Rabin came to power in 1992, many of the settlers wanted to leave, but the prices of their homes crashed and they couldn’t sell them.’

But this did not cool the interest of the immigrant in a ‘cheap house with garden’ in the territories, and an argument broke out in the bus around the question ‘is it worthwhile to convince the children to buy a house here.’ ‘Where is there another place that it is possible to buy a home at such a price?’ They asked each other again and again.

At the Eli settlement the immigrants asked to get off the bus to go into the empty homes. Peter Kaplan, 70 from Tel Aviv, was impressed with the construction. ‘I love terra cotta roofs and an attached garden, I need a house just like this,’ he told his friends. Ina Greenebrg, 67 from Ramat Gan, said that she is ready to live there with her husband. ‘I don’t have an apartment now and am ready to accept almost anything,’ she explained. Dima Yankiviya, 73, from Tel Aviv, was uncertain. ‘It is very nice here, but where is a theater and library?’ One of the guides said cynically that ‘there is a pretty nice synagogue here.’

At the end of the trip, when they returned to Jerusalem, some of the immigrants asked to ‘tour Har Homa’. The translator explained, ‘maybe next trip.’ (“Haaretz” 5 June, 1998)

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645