Real Housewives of the West Bank

This article was first published in The Forward.

The Mitnachalot Bareshet bloggers (left to right): Miri Maoz-Ovadia, Racheli Siegel, Meira Dolev, Tamar Asraf and Hila Luxenburg (photo credit: Renee Ghert-Zand)

The Mitnachalot Bareshet bloggers (left to right): Miri Maoz-Ovadia, Racheli Siegel, Meira Dolev, Tamar Asraf and Hila Luxenburg (photo credit: Renee Ghert-Zand)

Mommy blogs are nothing new. The blogosphere is full of sites written by self-proclaimed happy mommies, designer mommies, vodka-drinking mommies, redneck mommies, “scary,” sarcastic mommies and even “stark raving mad” mommies.

Now there’s a new kind of mommy blogger joining their ranks: the Israeli settler mommy.

Mitnachalot Bareshet (Set on the Net), a new blog co-written by a group of five native Israeli women living in the West Bank, deals with the daily concerns of working mothers living somewhere that is unfamiliar to most people (even to most Israelis), except for what they read or hear about it in the media.

This is exactly why Tamar Asraf, a mother of five from the Eli settlement north of Jerusalem and Ramallah, started the blog in October 2012. Eli was recently in the headlines, as Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank announced a plan to legitimize hundreds of illegal structures built in the settlement over the years on Palestinian land — both private land, and areas that have been declared state land.

“I felt it was time for Israelis to speak with us settlers, rather than about us,” said Asraf, a spokeswoman for the Binyamin Regional Council, an Israeli government body that oversees 42 settlements. “There is a huge gap between what people think life is like in Judea and Samaria and what the reality is,” she continued, using the biblical terms for the Occupied Territories.

Mitnachalot Bareshet is a public relations campaign — and in fact received early funding from the Binyamin Regional Council — but it’s one the women take very personally. Their blog is essentially a mommy blog, but with a unique twist. The women, who blog as volunteers, want to share with readers the challenges and rewards of the settler existence. They aim to show that family life on their side of the Green Line is the same as on the other side — but also different in some ways.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

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