Take note of how Israelis have begun copying the settlers' jargon. All of a sudden, everyone is pronouncing the name Ulpana with the stress on the penultimate syllable. But the Beit El settlement's Ulpana neighborhood - no matter how it's pronounced - is very far from their hearts.
When I visited there this week, its streets were completely empty. Only a few notices on walls hinted at the supposed drama that was taking place. Many Israelis have never been to Beit El, and they never will go there. That's for the best. We can also assume that most of them don't care whether the houses are evacuated, sawed off so they can be relocated, or looted. They couldn't care less.
The shouting of the Cossack who has been robbed, coming from the occupied east of the country, doesn't really matter to them, either. There's good reason for that. My colleague from the television series "Mehubarim," the settler Hanoch Daum, also recently moved from one settlement to another, from Alon Shvut to Elazar. And nothing terrible happened except that his daughter cried for a while, like any child whose parents force her to move. And Daum got lost among the workers fixing up his new home, like any man who moves house.
Ulpana's residents might face a similar fate, but in their case, the move will be accompanied by heart-rending cries. The main point is that it will be at the public's expense - and this fact has met with total apathy, too. Tens of millions to saw a building? Let it be so. A social protest against the whole world - the government, the tycoons, the concentration of wealth, the price of cottage cheese?
The budgets for the settlements are not a reason to protest. Judea and Samaria are over there, and on the face of it, only on the face of it, it's best so. But this apathy is the root of all evil. It has made possible the settlers' dizzy success and the false pretense that they're a power group that can't be dealt with. The paper tiger roared and who isn't afraid? But it's amazing: Whenever an Israeli statesman tried to challenge the tiger, the paper was torn to bits, as if it never existed.
The settlement enterprise has reached a grotesque stage, and even this doesn't amuse (or rile ) a soul. In the "first" Israel, that of the settlers, money is thrown away like garbage. In the "second" Israel, that of the majority, the garbage piles up and no one makes the connection that should be made.
Most social problems in the second Israel don't exist in the first Israel - that of the settlers - and no one asks why. There are no African migrants and no unemployment, no poverty and no discrimination. But the second Israel accepts everything with apathy and submissiveness because in its eyes, that's the way of the world.
Over there, those who steal land and forge documents can move their homes at the state's expense and still have the nerve to feel like victims. Over here, those who steal land are sent to jail. Two states (and two legal systems ) for two peoples. This is accepted silently, too, even among the "sons of light" - those who fight against every form of corruption except the biggest one of all.
It's only thanks to this apathy that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be depicted as the leader of the present, as a man of law. In a moment or two, he will also be a man of principles and conscience, the person who took decisive steps against the bill that would have legalized the Ulpana settlers' homes retroactively. It might have been better had it passed yesterday.
Just like sawing the houses, this disgraceful bill would have revealed the truth. In its place, we'll get another trick of upholding the law and another few dozen new houses on stolen land - stolen the way it was stolen from the owner of the land at Ulpana, who anyway will never be allowed to return to his land, even if it's emptied of its residents.
The settlers aren't to blame. Grab what you can - they've grabbed and are still grabbing what they can. The fault lies with those who have never tried to stop them - the government, and even more so, the public.
If tens of millions of shekels can be spent on a ridiculous relocation of stolen houses and tens of thousands of Israelis don't go out to demonstrate, there's no social protest movement here. If Israel remains apathetic in the face of the corruption being exposed at Ulpana, there's no camp of law-abiders here. After all, it's a fact - we're already pronouncing Ulpana with the stress on the penultimate syllable - just like the settlers.