Far from being religious ideologues, most
settlers say they are apolitical and just want a house and some quiet.
people outside Israel think that settlers in the Palestinian territories are a
small but powerful group of religious zealots—back-to-the-land types who form
hilltop encampments and chase Palestinians from their olive groves. Though that
kind of scenario exists, it is not what anthropologist Callie Maidhof found,
for the most part, when she embarked on her field research in the West Bank.
Maidhof wanted to find out who lives in settlements and why they go there, so
she moved to a settlement of 8,000 people—she likens it to an American bedroom
community—for nearly a year. The answers she found challenged the perception
that religious Zionism has motivated nearly one in 10 Israeli Jews to put down
roots in the West Bank and raised the new question of why that perception
joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss how Israelis inside Israel view
settlers, how the American dream is responsible for settlement growth, and how
her experiences living on the settlement compare to where she lives now: in the
heart of Ramallah.