Wanted: Residents for Pluralistic, Diverse, Sustainable City in the Negev

Looking for pioneers building a pluralistic, diverse community. Religious, non-religious, differently religious, Israelis, Americans, everyone mixed together. Rabbi Asher Lopatin, a rebbe of mine, is building this community in the Negev. It’s called Carmit. For more info, see:
Jerusalem Post Article
Carmit Website

28 thoughts on “Wanted: Residents for Pluralistic, Diverse, Sustainable City in the Negev

  1. Israel doesn’t need new towns or villages, especially not in the Negev, where government policy is to displace the Bedouin, keep them poor, and then get mad when they steal cars for a living.
    (No Bedouin in this la-la land of yours, right?). If people want a new community, they can move collectively to one of many blighted cities and moshavim in the Negev. But then, how will they get a back yard and grass?

  2. People are criticizing the idea to build a pluralistic “green” town? Is there anything you don’t hate about Israel?

  3. @formermuslim – what does conflict have anything to do with this project?
    In general I think communities like this and Kibbutz Hanaton ( sorry only in Hebrew) are great examples of pluralistic Jewish communities that could positively change the face of Israel. If there is still a desire for the State of Israel to represent and be a viable homeland for the entire People of Israel this feels like a step in the right direction. I submit here that those who oppose this project don’t share that desire.

  4. I don’t think it’s logically possible to build a sustainable city in a desert. Cities like Las Vegas have practically drained the entire Colorado River, killing tons of wildlife. Why don’t they try building Carmit in North Carolina? There’s plenty of water here. And here Palestinians, Americans, and Israelis can live together in peace.

  5. uzi
    Pluralism means everybody will have to compromise and give up some of their cherished principles. In the end you get one big homogenous blob of indistinguishable boring goo.
    Pluralism my a**.

  6. Rabbi Lopatin blogs at Morethody, where he recently wrote:
    “I can say will full confidence that I am in the tradition of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism. And… as a follower of Jabotinsky, I feel at home in the party of Menecham Begin, his heir, Herut and Likud. Yes, I see myself as part of Likud.” – Rabbi Asher Lopatin
    I think Rabbi Asher Lopatin is really a liberal but he is practicing to be the Steven Colbert of Israeli right-wing politics.

  7. @formermuslim
    I think what you describe is only one model of pluralism. See here for a few models of pluralistic communities
    I can say one thing with a fair amount of confidence, and that is that institutions that promote a diverse reading of Judaism are good for Israel and good for the Jewish people IMHO. The way it will play out in reality is a separate question and one that deserves serious attention to ensure the goals of the organization are reached.

  8. promote a diverse reading of Judaism are good for Israel and good for the Jewish people IMHO
    @uzi. Not everybody buys into the concepts of the state of Israel or the Jewish people.

  9. @Jonathan1
    I agree. But in that case I would put those who don’t buy into those concepts as on the fringe of any important conversation that needs to take place vis-a-vis either one.

  10. If people have an issue with Jews settling an open, lifeless desert… I mean, what can you say to that? Self-loathing? Nihilism? What? What do you call something like this?

  11. Jonathan1, no offense, but grow a spine.
    It’s a desert, and doesn’t have the capacity to support that many people.
    Says WHO? BZ, who are you to say what level of population a piece of land will support? Arizona is clearly MORE than capable of supporting 6.5 million people, because 6.5 million people LIVE there. Does it require adjustments to the ecosystem? Maybe. Does it require engineering projects to create water reservoirs and dig wells? Yes. Does it require drip irrigation? Yes. Does it require new developments in desalinization technology, or water vapor technology, or greenhouse agriculture? Maybe.
    Who are YOU to say what is possible and what isn’t in land management?! JNF has thousands of pages of research, from environmental evaluations to economic development studies, which says that the Negev CAN be developed. They are investing millions, and inviting private capital to invest BILLIONS. Who are YOU to say otherwise?

  12. Here’s how Rabbi Lopatin actually began his post:
    “If you have read this blog, you know that all of us, rabbis and Maharat, think out of the box and sometimes unpredictably. You may have seen my views of the One State solution, one democratic, Jewish and Palestinian State allowing all self declared Jews to return and Palestinians to return. You may have also seen my desire for separation of church and state in the Jewish state of the future – in Israel.”

  13. I’m renewing the discussion. The identity of the founders is a moot point. The real point is that the JNF (a body which can only lease land to JEWS! Really!) is leasing land in the Negev – a populated region – to immigrants from a different country (R. Lopatin and cong.) – while displacing the original inhabitants (Bedouin) on the one hand, and disempowering older cities, towns and villages (where the founding fathers of Carmit would never ever want to live).

  14. Without anyone saying as much, I think we’ve put the environmental canard to rest.
    Amit, are you claiming that Carmit will be built on privately owned Bedouin land? If so, what source do you have for this. If you don’t know, then stop claiming that Bedouin are being displaced.
    Yes, the state of Israel was created as a national home for the Jewish people. Not the Arab people. Not the Palestinian people. Not the Bedouin people. Not the Druze people. A Jewish state for the Jewish people. Yes, other people live in the Jewish state. In fact, there is a massive city being built exclusively for Israeli Arabs in the north. Several cities (4?) are being build exclusively for the Bedouin in the Negev. How that particular project is being mismanaged is a separate issue. The notion that only Jews get land or only Jews get cities in Israel is nonsense.
    The Jewish state allows Jews from anywhere in the world to become Israeli citizens. That’s the purpose of a Jewish state; to empower Jewish sovereignty.
    What exactly is the problem with Jews making aliyah and creating a new Israeli community? New kibbutzim are being started all over Israel every year, by leftist peaceniks and zionist nationalists. Why is Carmit is any different? How is the founding of Carmit disempowering any other towns and villages, any more than any other new kibbutz?

  15. Yes, the state of Israel was created as a national home for the Jewish people
    Most people here just don’t agree without such concepts(creating a home for the Jewish people and/or the Jewish people.)
    That’s the basis–really–for most Israel arguments on Jewschool.

  16. I’m not so sure, Jonathan1. I think you’re right that Jewschool draws those kinds of people, but I think the writers themselves are far more conservative on Jewish peoplehood, which is why they devote so much of their lives to expressing Jewish identity.
    On Israel, you’re probably right. With the possible exception of dlevy, everyone else he would rather that Israel had not been created, and probably wish there was an easy and bloodless way to dissolve it today.
    What’s ironic about this, of course, is that Jewish liberals (really, marxists) created Israel, against the will of the religious community. Then, sometime in the 70s, they dumped Israel on the religious Jewish community, which has more or less been forced to take up the mantle of Zionism to defend Jewish life and Jewish rights, if for no other reason.

    1. Avigdor writes:
      With the possible exception of dlevy, everyone else he would rather that Israel had not been created, and probably wish there was an easy and bloodless way to dissolve it today.
      Um, no.

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