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Ofra, the Mayflower of the Settlements

Posted On: Dec 4, 2019   |   Posted By: Tablet Magazine

Ofra, the Mayflower of the Settlements

The walls of the first houses of the West Bank settlement of Ofra are now affixed with the ubiquitous blue signs of Israel's Heritage Conservation Council. “Here the founding fathers of Ofra established the first Jewish settlement in the mountain region,” one reads. “Here important decisions were made and, in order to make those crucial decisions, the public was summoned by the PA system on the roof,” says another. It's a mythology that is similar to that of Israel's first kibbutz, just over 40 years after its establishment. What does it mean for Ofra, and for the settlement enterprise as a whole? When a historical building becomes a museum, doesn't it mean that that history is now settled?
One of Ofra's first buildings is now a pizzeria. Across the road is Ofra's enormous religious high school for girls. Opposite it, a drab supermarket. None of these three buildings was there when the novelist Amos Oz visited Ofra in the fall of 1982, but the nearby field school was and it is still operating. The...

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