City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement

Sara Yael Hirschhorn (Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies)
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Rothermere American Institute
1a South Parks Road
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Lectures and seminars
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Since 1967, more than 60,000 Jewish-Americans have settled in the territories captured by the State of Israel during the Six Day War. Comprising 15% of the settler population today, these immigrants demand attention in both Israel and the United States, but little is known about who they are and why they chose to leave America to live at the centre of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
In her new book Sara Hirschhorn unsettles stereotypes, showing that the 1960s generation who moved to the occupied territories were not messianic zealots or right-wing extremists but idealists engaged in liberal causes. They did not abandon their progressive heritage when they crossed the Green Line. Rather, they saw a historic opportunity to create new communities to serve as a beacon – a ‘city on a hilltop’ – to Jews across the globe.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 war, Hirschhorn illuminates the changing face of the settlements and the clash between liberal values and political realities that lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.