A shidduch from ‘the Hilltop Youth’

Let’s get away from all the ‘politics’ for a moment to talk about shidduchim.

A couple of years back, a bunch of my daughter’s friends, some of whom I am very close to, came of marriageable age. While they aren’t ‘chareidi’, they are all big believers in Hashem, and what Israelis would refer to as sincerely ‘dos’.

They like to pray.

They like to visit kivrei tzaddikim.

Many of them, but not all of them, are very into Breslov.

And they all live in the Shomron, close to the bastions of what so many of us call ‘the Hilltop Youth’.


Two years ago, when the shidduch process began in earnest, I had such stars in the my eyes about ‘the Hilltop Youth’, so-called.

Now, I have developed a more realistic assessment of what seems to be going on, and I think it’s useful to share that with you, dear reader, because ‘politics’, and ‘political PR’ keeps getting in the way of actually discussing what is really going on here, and what is really going to get us out of the pit we are all currently stuck in.


First, there is a huge cultural divide between most of the people who settle hilltops in the Shomron, and also in places like Gush Etzion, and the more ‘mainstream’ yishuvim in these areas.

These are broad generalisations, of course, but the ‘mainstream’ yishuvim are not as idealistically motivated by a connection ‘to the ground’ and ‘to Eretz Yisrael’ as many of the people on the hilltops.

Many of the people in the yishuvim are there just because the houses are bigger and much more affordable than in more ‘civilised’ areas.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but it’s not ‘idealogical settlement of Eretz Yisrael’ in the same way.


So, when we talk about the ‘residents of YESHA’, it’s a very mixed bunch.

You wouldn’t know this from the news of course, but not all of the people or yishuvim in these areas are ‘religious’  – there are also secular people and secular yishuvim, too.

It’s not just ‘fanatical religious settlers with machine guns and payot’.

Not at all.


Now, let’s take a look a the so-called ‘Hilltop Youth’.

The ‘Hilltop Youth’ from 30 years ago, who have been trying to live on hilltops in the Shomron from an idealogical perspective, are very, very impressive people.

They’ve stayed put in the face of friends and families being murdered by terrorists, stone throwing on the roads, the challenges of having to drive through places like Huwara.

That’s made them very tough, in a lot of ways, and very cynical of the government, and even the bits of the government like ‘Otzma Yehudit’ that claims to represent them.

None of these people – the Israelis that I know personally – talk about ‘Meir Kahane’ obsessively, or how ‘Kahane was right’.

There are no ‘Kach Chai’ stickers, no-one reading Kahane books.


It’s important to understand that tachlis:

Meir Kahane seems to be a particular obsession of Americans and non-Israelis.


OK, so now let’s take a closer look at the Hilltop Youth of our day – the late teens and twenty-somethings.

Until two years ago, I was totally convinced that the Hilltop Youth were idealistic angels, who were just being persecuted because they were anti-establishment, religious and not scared to stand up for their principles.

And that is still a big part of what is going on.


After seeing a few shidduchim come and go, I have come to realise that there is a lot more going on under the surface.


A lot of today’s ‘Hilltop Youth’ kind of gravitated to the area because they were having real issues with their parents, growing up.

Many of them come from broken homes – usually, where the parents were religious, or baal teshuvas.

Many of them kind of ‘ran away’ to the hills of the Shomron, because in that stillness and wilderness, you can still feel a little bit free in your soul.

And there, they met many other young people in the same sort of situation and headspace, who really do ‘love the land’ and ‘hate Arabs’ – but not quite in the way it’s perhaps being portrayed.


In the Shomron, there are still places where you can put up a caravan, or a ‘temporary shelter’, and effectively live somewhere rent-free.

No arnona to pay… no rules to follow….

That’s a huge plus for young people who need to move out of their homes, but who often don’t have any formal training or skills (or desire…) to ‘settle down’ in the mainstream.

The politicians and the army make use of these ‘Hilltop Youth’ to settle places where they don’t want the Arabs to take over.

There is simply no way these settlements would continue without the tacit agreement of both the politicians and the army, periodical ‘destructions’ for public consumption notwithstanding.


Another thing to understand is that while many of these ‘Hilltop Youth’ are religious, many of them are also really not.

I personally know of one ‘hill top’ that started off with a lot of ‘run aways’ from dysfunctional religious homes, but now, 4 years on, most of the hill top is breaking Shabbat and have girlfriends staying over.

Again, it’s not all ‘pious and holy’, and it’s not all black and white – on any level.


OK, so now let’s move to the violence against Arabs.

Two years ago, I was totally convinced that none of the ‘Hilltop Youth’ were doing anything against Arabs except acting 100% in self-defense.

But now…. I have come to an understanding, very sadly, that ‘price tag events’ really are a thing.

I have to say, this understanding has shocked and dismayed me, because ‘price tag events’ – where you go and do something bad to someone because someone totally unrelated did something bad to you – are totally against halacha.

BH, the ‘Hilltop Youth’ who are genuinely with Rebbe Nachman understand this themselves, and they are not participating in this sort of violence.

But to cut a very long story short, not everything the security agencies are accusing the ‘Hilltop Youth’ of doing is a lie.


At the same time, I know someone personally who spent months – months! – in jail for committing the crime of knifing the tyres of a few cars belonging to Arabs.

Clearly, this is totally disproportionate.

At the same time this guy was in prison for months, the judges here were freeing a Palestinian man who’d violently raped a young Jewish woman in Jerusalem – who served way, way less time in prison.

Our ‘justice’ isn’t justice, we all know that.

But why play into their hands, and give them more ‘grist’ for their mill?

Why ruin your own life to have the satisfaction of deflating a few tyres?

That guy was engaged to be married…. the wedding was postponed for many, many months until he finally got out.

And for what?


Tachlis, I made it very clear to my kid and her friends that when it comes to shidduchim, the last thing you want is a husband who:

a) Is on the Shabak watch list.

b) Is justifying their own bad middot, anger and violent tendencies as a ‘mitzvah’.

c) Gets stuck having to live with their divorced mum because they aren’t allowed to go near the Shomron.


There is so much more to say, of course.

Our enemies abroad and sadly, much closer to home, expend huge efforts going on about ‘violent, fanatical settlers’ all the time in the corrupt media.


Because they are trying to tear YESHA away from the Jews, and they are following that well-trodden path of pulling sincere, well-meaning Jews after ‘false leaders’ and ‘agents provocateurs’, to entrap, and smear whole communities.


They did the same thing when they wanted to get Rabin out the way, when he changed his mind about ‘land for peace’.

If all those ‘Kach’ people talking about ‘justified violence’ hadn’t been covered so heavily in the press….

‘The evils’ would have had a much harder time hiding who really pulled the trigger when Rabin was murdered.

The formula worked so well last time, they just have it on ‘rinse and repeat‘ now.

And each time we choose guns over God….. we are just playing into our enemies’ hands.


Is Esav the real enemy here?


Are they using ‘Ishmael’ as their delivery mechanism?


Do they have their ‘agent provocateurs’, false leaders and ‘opinion formers’ embedded – for decades already! – all over the Jewish community?


Does is suit ‘Esav’ to claim that YESHA is full of ‘fanatical, violent settlers who hate Arabs’ – so the only real solution just has to be ‘two states’…..


Think for yourself.


PS: They always hide the truth in plain view, as a ‘joke’:

14 replies
  1. Dean Maughvet
    Dean Maughvet says:

    Lady, you know nothing about Rav Kahane Hy”d, ztz”l.
    Show up once to his kever on a yahrzeit, and take a look at the thousands of people, most of whom weren’t born when the Rav was murdered–including droves of hilltop youth, none of whom are Americans–and tell me this is some reserve of the chutznik community.
    You’re fixated on making Rav Kahane irrelevant, against all reality and all evidence to the contrary.
    There are half a dozen Hebrew language websites and the same number of Telegram channels and Whatsapp groups with thousands of followers–again, in Hebrew–that demonstrate the Rav’s Torah speaks directly to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of committed Jews, and not just in YoSh.
    And that’s not to mention that his books are now selling at their fastest rate ever.
    You drove out to the Shomron, what…twice? And now you have an opinion?
    Get a grip.
    Your read is shallow.
    Come visit us on the hilltops for an extended period and taste the reality.
    Or better yet, open the Rav’s sefarim, Ohr HaRaayon or Perush HaMaccabi, and you’ll see instantly why those who aren’t afraid to THINK FOR THEMSELVES, and not just trust the media’s take on Rav Kahane, become die hard followers.
    Or do one better and ask your Rav, whom you revere above all other rabbanim and who’s worthy of a simple question, what is his opinion of Rav Meir Kahane.
    You’ll be shocked by his answer.
    Don’t be afraid, lady; you’ll only gain by making yourself small and looking into the matter honestly.
    You made the mistake of thinking “the hilltop youth were all idealistic angels.”
    Consider now that you made another mistake.
    Dean Maughvet

  2. Rivka Levy
    Rivka Levy says:

    I was writing about my personal experiences, and many of the people I know in the Shomron’s personal experiences.

    Apparently, that’s not allowed – even on my own blog (?)

    But while you’re here, maybe you can explain to me how committing random acts of violence against Palestinians is not something that Rabbi Kahane approved of, or encouraged?

    It’s a simple yes or no answer: are the people committing ‘price tag’ violence in the Shomron following Rav Kahane’s teachings, or not?

    • Dean Maughvet
      Dean Maughvet says:

      Sweetie-pie, when Rav Berland sent his goons out to the Muslim Quarter to randomly beat Arabs and establish himself in a rough neighborhood was it because he was a Kahanist?!
      Surely you dedicated a full chapter to that period in, what is it now…? THREE volumes of OIAG?
      Face up, lady; you’re a hypocrite.
      Who wears blinders.
      And who’s completely tone deaf.
      If you could only follow through with your thinking to its logical end.
      If you could only hear– objectively, from the outside–your own muddled thinking, you’d die of shame.
      I won’t hold my breath.
      Eventually, you’ll erase all the evidence–again–and start anew.
      It would be a lot more powerful, though, if you owned up, honestly, as to why you did it.
      It might prevent you from returning to the same bumbling, thoughtless errors time and time again.
      Dean Maughvet

      • Rivka Levy
        Rivka Levy says:

        a) Great projection, thanks.

        b) Great that once again, we can see the true ‘imprint’ of the leader on the followers.

        c) The Rav’s followers defended themselves against the specific people who were trying to harm them physically at a particular time – as mandated in the Torah.

        Maybe these subtleties are lost on such intelligent people like yourself and the other big ‘Kahanists’ who regularly show up here to personally insult me and the Rav, but who can’t seem to answer the simplest of questions.

        If the Rav had sent his followers to throw a grenade into some totally unrelated Arab’s shop in the Old City (God forbid) because some other totally unrelated Arabs were beating up students in the yeshiva – then that would be what Meir Kahane encouraged his followers to do.

        If you can’t see the difference between Torah mandated actions of ‘self-defense’, to stop specific people from hurting and killing you, between finding some random Arab who you torture and kill purely from a place of hatred and revenge….

        Then that explains a lot of why things are going so wrong, in those communities that hold by these teachings.

        So, even though you didn’t mean to provide a real answer, so you could keep the charade going that ‘Kahane’s teachings doesn’t encourage people to perform price tag violence’ – you actually ended up being very helpful, in the end.

        Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Dean Maughvet
    Dean Maughvet says:

    And if you’re looking for a dose of common Jewish sense on the matter, from someone who’s no Kahanist, check out the latest from a woman with some real sechel: http://myrtlerising.weebly.com/
    In fact, we’d recommend you read everything she writes.
    You’ve a great deal to learn from her.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I know her personally, and encouraged her to start blogging.

      Baruch Hashem, I don’t live in a world where the only people I can read and relate to are the ones I 100% agree with.

      You can learn something from everyone.


      This is a very good post on that site:


      What all this boils down to is that you and me, the small people, really don’t know what we’re meant to be doing right now.

      And that violence, even holy, justified violence mandated by the Torah, is still something that leaves a ‘stain’, a residue, on even the holiest Jewish neshama.

      That’s why King David wasn’t allowed to build the temple – even though all of the wars he undertook were holy wars, with the sanction of the Sanhedrin.

      These things are not simple, they are not ‘black and white’, and the very negative effects of perpetrating violence – even when totally justified and mandated by the Torah – are totally ignored by the people still chanting slogans like ‘every Jew a .22’.

      We all know people who went through very difficult experiences in the army, that have continued to effect them very negatively throughout their lives.

      There’s a massive PTSD problem here that is routinely covered up and not spoken about, because the people who love violence and wars don’t want these small details ruining the charade that having a bigger gun is all we need to solve all our problems.

      • Dean Maughvet
        Dean Maughvet says:

        That was precisely the section I wanted you to read.
        But you derived the exact opposite conclusion from Myrtle Rising.
        And that renders you a fool.


        “And that phone call hit me like a ton of bricks, stripping me of all my illusions:

        ​There are no innocent civilians in Gaza.”

        Pray tell, shedder of light: what conclusions do YOU draw from those words?

        And the corollary, too: are there innocent Arab civilians in Judea and Samaria?

        Or do we have to wait until another few thousand are raped, tortured and butchered there before we draw any conclusions.

        Can’t wait to see you dance around this one.

        It’s a simple yes or no answer; if no one is innocent, what’s to be done with them?

        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          I refer you to the last part of that article:

          It All Comes Back Down to Fighting the Inner Enemy

          Now, what is daas Torah on this issue? How should we handle this situation?

          Only a big talmid chacham would know. (And the military and government elites aren’t asking them.)

          Mostly, the talmidei chacham aren’t saying much right now, except to love each other more, give in to each more, behave and dress more modestly, and honor Shabbat more thoroughly.

          Rav Dov Kook stated that each person knows what to work on individually, so each person should do that.

          And those statements are the Jewish key to overcoming any enemy.

          A real talmid chacham is wiser and more compassionate than everyone else.

          But he also knows how to be tough when toughness is the most ethical response.

          ​So I don’t know.”


          If you could develop a fraction of humility for all of a millisecond, you would also then be able to admit that you also don’t know.

        • yosef d
          yosef d says:

          i’m just a student of history, possibly mistaken in this comment. i need to go read tikkun klali now anyway.
          “are there innocent Arab civilians in Judea and Samaria?”
          there are villages who fought on the israeli side of the war of independence, who got hit with hamas rockets – who chose to stay out of this fight. maybe that’s what civilian means – someone actually refusing to use violence against the israelis.
          is there maybe a better question, that “are there non-jewish residents on both sides of the nahal yarden who would rather live in a medinat halakha, as ger toshav, with all the collaborators with UNRWA and the american dept. of state deported, anyone with blood on their hands in prison or otherwise not able to be a petty warlord with rich white people as their corporate sponsors, and figure out how ‘nasi’ carter’s opinion and the entire framework of european and yavani international law is less relevant than figuring out international law between ‘yishmael’ ( not one of the 70 ‘nations’ ) and israel?”
          there’s probably a shorter way to ask a better question than either of those.

          in the meantime individuals can fight their inner amalek yetzer and do what the torah-observant rabbis say, to read tehillim, talk to Hashem, maybe i need to not type as much.

          shleimut does not mean peace, мир, pax, or any of the other EU words for ceasefire.

          maybe eisaw figures out that the biggest idol in terah’s idol shop is still an idol, that the beit lavan is a whitewashed religious pagan temple, that wellness is better than war, colonialism, or cultural imperialism.
          yasher koach

  4. Simon
    Simon says:

    That other comment is quite absurd I must say.

    When is it the time to act like Pinchas son of Elazar and to slay someone like he did? It’s not directly relevant to anything here, but I am curious as to your opinion.
    More relevant, king David was a mighty warrior who killed thousands, probably tens of thousands. When is it the time to act like that?
    But since David was forbidden to build the House of God because of the blood on his hands, the messiah will “win the whole world without firing a single shot,” or something like that.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      I don’t have ruach hakodesh, and I’m not on the level of kedusha and Torah knowledge required to have an opinion.

      I’m just a simple Jew with a gift for writing and asking awkward questions.

      That’s why I am just translating Rav Berland and bringing Rabbenu’s wisdom around these topics. Our true tzaddikim know what’s required, and when, and it’s not a one size fits all approach that never changes or is ‘fixed’.

      Ruach Hakodesh tells our true tzaddikim when God decides it’s a ‘time for war’, or a ‘time for peace’.

      That’s part of how you can tell who is really listening to Hashem, and who isn’t.

      It’s not always just the same unchanging approach or idea, of ‘Peace Now’ or ‘Violence Now’.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Very useful, thanks Hava.

      The ‘State’ is for sure against the Jews who live in the Shomron, and there are cases like this going on ALL THE TIME.

      That’s why people should not just jump to take things into their own hands, because it’s just giving them more grist for their mill – look at what happened when the burned the junk yard of cars down in Huwara, and then just got a whole bunch of lying ‘Huwara pogrom’ headlines all over the world.

      Who did that help? How did that help?

      100%, we have to defend ourselves from attack in the here and now.

      Beyond that…. it’s very murky waters, and without proper daat Torah, it’s extremely hard to navigate them, without just causing more suffering to the Jews of the Shomron.


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