Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers.
He discovers a group of people who consider it
their religious and political obligation to populate
some of the most sensitive and disputed areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible.
Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people
most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish
settler movement - finding them warm, friendly,
humorous, and deeply troubling.
Louis Theroux spends time with ultra-nationalist Jewish
settlers and discovers a small, but very committed
On a hilltop in the Northern West Bank, not far from the
large Palestinian city of Nablus, I met 17-year-old Yair
A part-time labourer and student, Yair's home was a
makeshift canvas-covered structure, only slightly more
solid than a tent, which he shared with three other
young men. The bed was a tangled mess of sheets, in the
style of a conventional teenager's, and hung around the
dwelling were posters - though not of pop groups, but of
favourite rabbis. Outside, in the neighbouring lots, was
a scattering of fifteen or so caravans and trailers -
the outpost of Havat Gilad.
Like the settlements up and down the West Bank, Havat
Gilad is illegal under international law. It lies miles
inside the territory won by Israel in the 1967 war and
the vast majority of the surrounding population is
Palestinian. But Havat Gilad is also illegal under
Israeli law. Electricity comes from a generator. Water
is trucked in.
Yair moved up to Havat Gilad a couple of years ago. On a
tour around the hilltop, I asked him why he'd decided to
make his life in this ramshackle encampment, at the end
of a dirt road, on an inhospitable hilltop among Arab
"If we're not here there's a [Palestinian] city and we
don't want another [Palestinian] city," he said.
What, I wondered, would be so bad about another
"Because it's my land! It's the land of Israel. It's not the land of Palestinians."
Yair's beliefs are shared by a hardcore religious nationalist fringe of Jewish Israelis who have chosen to make their home up and down the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. They say that those areas belong by right to the Jewish people - a title claim based mainly on the bible.
The fact that there are ten times as many Arabs as there are Jews in the West Bank, with their own dreams of a national homeland, they regard as a side- issue.