Home  > Israel-News Today  > Week in Review  > This Month Must Reads  > Quotes of the Week
A Settler Leader, Worldly and Pragmatic (NY) TIMES) By JODI RUDOREN MAALE SHOMRON, West Bank 08/18/12) Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/18/world/middleeast/dani-dayan-worldly-and-pragmatic-leader-of-israels-settler-movement.html?pagewanted=all&gwh=9400F627019092B2F984726142E60347
The Headline Contains

* Choose from 1 of the 4 descriptions for the headline and or any paragraph.


SOME years ago, after the death of a neighborhood teenager, a psychologist asked Dani Dayan, the leader of Israel’s settler movement, what kind of life he wanted for his only child.
Paragraph-1 Contains
“If it’s for me to decide, I would like her to establish an outpost on the most challenging hill in Samaria,” Mr. Dayan recalled saying, using the biblical name for the northern swath of the Israeli- occupied West Bank. “But she should never forget the road from that hill to the theaters of Tel Aviv and to the museums of Tel Aviv and to the restaurants of Tel Aviv.”
Paragraph-2 Contains
From a bedroom window in his spacious, modern home here in this settlement about 20 miles northeast of Tel Aviv, Mr. Dayan — and his daughter, Ofir, 18 — can see the lights that represent those theaters, museums and restaurants. In his mind, he and his family, just by living here in the West Bank rather than yielding it to become a Palestinian state, are a “shield” protecting those theaters and museums, and the survival of Israel itself.
Paragraph-3 Contains
“You cannot maintain a Jewish soul of a community if you detach it from history,” he said. “If Israel detaches itself from Hebron and Bet El and Shilo, it will become an empty society, a shallow society that ultimately will forget why it’s here.”
Paragraph-4 Contains
Mr. Dayan, 56, an immigrant from Argentina who got rich running an information technology company, has devoted the past five years to expanding the Jewish presence in those and other disputed historic places across the West Bank as chairman of the Yesha Council, which represents 350,000 settlers in 150 communities. Passionately ideological yet profoundly secular, he defies the caricature of settlers as gun-toting radicals who attribute their politics to God and the Torah — he travels the world collecting art and wine, and a bald spot occupies the place others reserve for a skullcap.
Paragraph-5 Contains
Mr. Dayan’s movement has had a string of successes this summer. After Israel’s Supreme Court declared the tiny outpost of Ulpana illegal because it sat on private Palestinian land, he helped negotiate 800 new settler homes in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of 30 families. A college in Ariel was elevated to university status, a first within a settlement. A government-appointed commission of three respected judges declared the entire settlement enterprise to be legal, contrary to international opinion.
Paragraph-6 Contains
Over the last month, Mr. Dayan declared victory against the two-state solution in an Op-Ed page article in The New York Times and in a lengthy article in The Atlantic. But as The Atlantic noted, he faces an internal battle among the settlers over tactics; many prefer a more principled, confrontational stand to his pragmatic, businesslike approach.
Paragraph-7 Contains
On right-wing Web sites, Mr. Dayan has been denounced as a traitor and called “a danger to settlements.” A columnist, Hanamel Dorfman, declared, “We, the youth of the settlements, of the hilltops, already don’t believe in you.”
Paragraph-8 Contains
During the fight over Ulpana, there was a move to unseat Mr. Dayan, which he survived. But some within the movement say they are closely watching how he handles the scheduled move this month of Migron, another outpost declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
Paragraph-9 Contains
“His approach is: ‘O.K., let’s work with what I can do. It’s not good, but it’s good enough,’ ” said Itzik Shadmi, chairman of the Binyamin Council, which includes about 40 settlements totaling 50,000 residents. “My approach is to fight until the end, to do some confrontation with the government, in order for everybody to understand that maybe they can win this battle but we will win the war itself.”
Paragraph-10 Contains
But Mr. Dayan’s true adversaries say his pragmatic approach has made him the most effective leader the settlers have had.
Paragraph-11 Contains
“Our challenge is to expose him,” said Yariv Oppenheimer, director of Peace Now, which opposes all settlements. “His agenda is the same as the most fanatic right-wing settlers. But he has this ability to hide it and to speak with the public with a much more sensible argument and a much more moderate image.”
Paragraph-12 Contains
MR. DAYAN — whose father, Moshe, was a second cousin of Gen. Moshe Dayan — came from Buenos Aires to Tel Aviv in 1971, in a family that revered Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the revisionist Zionist who led the underground military organization Irgun. But his brother, Aryeh, who declined to be interviewed, became a “radical leftist anti-Zionist” journalist, as both men have put it. They retain a certain closeness by never mentioning politics: Aryeh refused to attend Dani’s wedding in 1987 on the ramp leading to the Temple Mount but joined a reception afterward in West Jerusalem.
Paragraph-13 Contains
Their cousin Ilana Dayan, a television journalist, said that Dani Dayan had been immersed in politics since he came of age but that his education in computer science and economics had helped “rationalize the discourse.”
Paragraph-14 Contains
“It’s not a debate about whether the Messiah has come or is on his way,” Ms. Dayan said. “He’s talking realpolitik, he’s talking rational, he’s talking cost-benefit analysis. He will try to engage in a civilized and always intriguing argument, and he will try to convince you that from the point of view of the Zionist enterprise even the status quo is better than any Peace Now fantasy.”
Paragraph-15 Contains
To Mr. Dayan, those who believe in a two-state solution are “either naïve or liars.” He has a two-stage vision: for the next 30 to 40 years, Jews and Palestinians should continue to expand their communities in the West Bank, “with the kind of interaction that is minimal but allows people to live well.” Later, he imagines, leadership change in Jordan, where ethnic Palestinians are a majority, would lead to an arrangement in which the West Bank is jointly governed by Israel and Jordan with “shared responsibilities for two peoples between two states.”
Paragraph-16 Contains
“I see a vision of everyone living normal lives here with a political situation that has to be unique,” Mr. Dayan said one day in May. “There is no other example in history of a people dispersed for 2,000 years that comes back to its land and reclaims it. It’s a very peculiar situation and will need a peculiar solution.”
Paragraph-17 Contains
Mr. Dayan and his wife, Eynat, moved to Maale Shomron in 1988, living for two years in a trailer, as required by the settlement to prove their commitment. They built a showpiece home, where the sunken double-height living room is filled with a painting from Vietnam, a sculpture from Machu Picchu and a meditation bowl from Nepal. “This is from South Africa,” he said, pointing to a set of large wooden masks. “Post-apartheid South Africa. I refused to visit apartheid South Africa.”
Paragraph-18 Contains
TOURING the settlements with Mr. Dayan is like attending a family reunion with a proud patriarch. At a plastics factory where Jewish and Arab workers take occasional field trips together, he said, “We are much less prejudiced toward Palestinians than Israeli society as a whole.” Leaving the college in Ariel, Mr. Dayan declared, “This is exactly what I want for Judea and Samaria: it’s a university that has some ideological tone, but it’s 21st-century, and it’s integral to the fabric of Israeli society.” Sampling robust reds at the Psagot winery, he mused, “This is my dream: to make a combination of mission, ideology, good life — that’s what makes life here permanent.”
Paragraph-19 Contains
Standing on a lookout point in Elie, Mr. Dayan surveyed his empire, the red-roof settlements that dot the hills in every direction.
Paragraph-20 Contains
“When I hear Israeli politicians say there are isolated settlements that should be removed, I know they have never visited here,” he said. “I got to fulfill the dream of 100 generations. Today, it’s a day-to-day fact.”
Paragraph-21 Contains
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Paragraph-22 Contains
Correction: August 18, 2012
Paragraph-23 Contains
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Dani Dayan’s family arrived in Israel in 1979; they arrived in 1971. It also said that Mr. Dayan’s father was a first cousin to Gen. Moshe Dayan; he was a second cousin. And it reported that Ze’ev Jabotinsky led the underground military organization Haganah; he led Irgun. (Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company 08/18/12)
Paragraph-24 Contains
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY


NEW YORK TIMES Articles-Index-Top Publishers-Index-Top Return to Top