Kookism: The roots of Gush Emunim – Preface Part 4

During the time I conducted my research – I had to make sure I don’t miss any vital information and at the same time allow the required intimacy and rapport to develop.

Written By Gideon Aran

Professor Gideon Aran

Professor Gideon Aran

Therefore, and in order to do so I volunteered to become a driver at the time Gush-Emunim first started taking shape. I helped driving the followers who were particularly exhausted from running around the West Bank indefinitely. These were the days when they didn’t even have a single car of their own and so when they had difficulties renting one, they used to ride as hitchhikers.

At those journeys, along remote and impassable roads, it was Rabbi Levinger who once predicted “Investments worth millions put into a network of asphalts through the length and breadth of the mountain, lit with strings of florescent lights”. It sounded to me as a ridiculous Para-biblical prophecy. At times I also served as navigator, an armed bodyguard and even as a confession priest (Kohen) to the leaders of Gush-Emunim. By doing so, I spent many moonlight hours with Rabbi Levinger, walking behind him in desolate roads from Jerusalem, through ‘Anata arriving at Jericho or from Ramallah through Taybeh arriving at Nueima.

On few occasions, Rabbi Levinger pointed his finger at some of the bare hills around us and excitedly yelled as if he was possessed: “Dozens of settlements will be built here and in those settlements you’ll find workshops, synagogues and jobs for many kindergarten teachers, engineers and Torah scholars.

It was dark and I was sweaty, having difficulty to conquer both my amazement and embarrassment in light of his words. This entire situation can be described, using today’s words, as pretty freakish, and yet, less than a decade after that, flourishing settlements stood at every site he talked about: Kfar Adumim, Michmash, Mitzpe Yeriho, Kokhav HaShahar, Rimonim, Anatot and many more. It’s really hard and quite impossible to remain indifferent to the difference between the ancient obsession and its realization in proportions exceeding above and beyond any expectations.

Taken from Kookism: The roots of Gush Emunim, Jewish Settlers’ Subculture, Zionist Theology and Contemporary Messianism.

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