How would you describe an Israeli “settlement”? "I think of a village with uniformly white walls and red tile roofs – kind of like a California gated community – and distinguishable from the surrounding towns by the absence of a mosque," writes Gilbert in Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner. "But that’s not the only description that applies. From rundown trailers to wisteria-covered villas, the size, character, appearance and reputation of the various cities, towns, regional councils and neighborhoods labeled “settlements” vary significantly. There is, however, one kind of settlement that really seems to embody the gun-toting, Wild West stereotype of “Israeli settlers” that inhabit the world’s imagination. These are called “outposts,” and they are populated by the most unruly of all the settlers - the “hilltop youths.” What does an outpost look like? The central feature of one such outpost, Givat Olam, is a light-filled community center with a spotless kitchen, dining room and outside tables that provide a gathering place for the 50 young and industrious residents who build its structures and tend to its animals. After a cup of coffee laced with goat’s milk and sugar, I went out to see the place.
Through the eyes of a sojourner …»