Binyamin Region, West Bank, Palestinian Territories
Matti Blumberg, 27, walks with one of her children, through the settlement of Esh Kodesh, near the Shilo settlement. The young single mother of three, who grew up in America, lives in one of approximately 100 Jewish outposts in the West Bank. Tensions are common with neighbouring Palestinian villagers. Even the Israeli government does not recognise these communities that grow wild around a handful of caravans or makeshift dwellings, while often helping them materially and Israeli soldiers keep watch from a tower in the village. Her family moved to Israel when she was eight years old. She found the relocation difficult: 'I felt different, shifted. They laughed at my accent.' At 17, she decided to marry a friend of her brother. They have three children but are separating. She moved to Esh Kodesh soon after the split. 'There were only twelve families, we had to grow the community', she says'. 'This is our ideology, our mission, the belief that God has given us this earth and we must cultivate.' She is studying psychology in the Ariel settlement, a conservative and religious environment where a divorced woman is a rarity. When she asked for a permit to carry a weapon in order to feel more secure. 'It was refused me. The Palestinians want to kill us, not get a state. They have already had so many opportunities to have it! We won the war, this land belongs to us. Why do not we say clearly that we have conquered Judea and Samaria [the biblical name of the West Bank? If an Arab state wants to host them, we should help them relocate.'