What's the real problem with Israel's building freeze?
Yes, it doesn't let our population grow in Yesha (Yehuda and Shomron - and once Gaza too). Yes, it stifles Jewish towns. Yes yes yes, many things. But one of the worst things about the building freeze is that it keeps housing prices in towns in Judea and Samaria artificially high - too high for the next generation to buy homes here.
Well, of course, that's what the Arabs want, and the left-wingers too. No more messy bad-PR actions, like kicking the Jews out of their homes. Let them stay, and keep their housing prices so high that young people can't move into their neighborhoods. The population of every town will grow older and older and older, until they leave one by one, when the neighborhood hills or steps or distances become too much for them. No pressure. No violence. Instead of the catch phrase "Natural Growth," the reality of natural decline. Natural evaporation.
Get a Tomorrow
As Yesha towns include young couples and young families in their ranks, they're creating a tomorrow for their community. Until they can afford to own their own homes, some towns welcome young'uns in caravans, some in basement apartments, and some in multi-unit houses. However they do it, young people are the vital component for a town's tomorrow, and for our own sake, and for the sake of the Zionist enterprise, somehow they must be enabled to buy homes in our towns. Without these young families, a town will wither until it is just a scrapbook of yesterday's milestones.
In addition to the grandmotherly excitement and nachas (pride) that I felt today, I had all these nationalistic thoughts in my head as I picked up my seven-year-old granddaughter to bring her to her first ever jazz lesson at the Efrat Matnas. My granddaughter, I thought, is proof that my community will continue on. As we were getting into the car, I saw my friend Hilary walking her grandbaby in the stroller. He lives with his young parents in a hilltop caravan. Hilary's grandbaby is proof that his town will carry on.
So too, B"H, are my other sweet grandbabies and my friends' - the teeny hilltop residents of super-teeny satellite neighborhoods in Gush Etzion, Binyamin and the Shomron. As they play in their mischakiyot (game rooms) or sand piles outside their caravans, they are helping their town create a tomorrow. When they go to gan (preschool) and play in the park, they are brightening the future of the towns in which they live.
Dancing into the Future
When I got to the Community Center Dance Room, I saw my friend Debbie's daughter Elana, watching her own little daughter Maayan dancing in the class. Yes yes yes! Another third generation Efratian was on stage, alongside my granddaughter. These little girls didn't know they were doing something momentous, as they were popping and bopping (hm, maybe those are not jazz terms), or grooving and moving along the dance floor with one of today's great jazz choreographers and teachers - Jocelyn Odenheimer (who is also Dance Advisor for DAMES of the DANCE). They just thought they were dancing and laughing and having fun.
They were indeed doing that too, along with more than a dozen other girls their age. But unbeknownst to these seven year olds, these pitzelehs (little tikes) were creating a tomorrow for my town.
Thank you, darlings. May there be many many many more of you.
Thirteen days to the end of the freeze.
Here's to a fabulous new year, 5771, with building from hilltop to hilltop to hilltop, and little Jewish children dancing jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop and anything else in community centers from Eilat to Efrat, Kiryat Arba to Kiryat Motzkin, Bet Shemesh to Bet El, Geula to the Golan.