chapter  5
29 Pages

The leaders of the political system who motivated the settlement process Levi Eshkol: “we will compromise and compromise until my

A range of factors promoted the settlement process in the Golan and a dynamic was created which advanced its development. These factors included: the policyand decision-makers – the government and, especially, its leaders and senior ministers; the settlement institutions – the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, the settlement movements, and the Agriculture Center (Mercaz HaHaklai) as the body which coordinated them; and the settlers as private individuals and as a group. It happens that one narrative often gains control of a historical account and designs it in terms of a certain subjective viewpoint that is incompatible with its actual position in the power system which advanced the historical process. A comprehensive investigation into the totality of factors makes it possible to place each factor in its appropriate place in the system, and to comprehend the picture in its entirety. The story of Golan settlement has been presented up to now particularly from the narrow viewpoint of one of the groups of settlers. However, a general examination indicates that the salient determinant in the creation of the settlement process was the central government and not the settlers, and its development was affected primarily by government policy. This policy was conducted according to the approaches and work patterns of the central figures who bore the responsibility during each period of settlement, and was implemented by the official settlement bodies. The settlers, who were a necessary part of the project, in this case served as the executors of a process whose duration could not be foreseen, and it was the settlers themselves who held back settlement development due to their low numbers. The five central decision-makers who influenced Israeli settlement in the Golan at the start were: Prime Minister Levi Eshkol; Menachem Begin, first as a minister in the national unity government from 1967 to 1970 and later as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1983; Minister Yigal Allon; Minister Yisrael Galili; and Minister Moshe Dayan. The influence of personalities such as Yitzchak Rabin as Prime Minister from 1974 to 1977 and afterwards from 1992 to 1998; Minister

Ariel Sharon as a member of the Likud government from 1977 and as Chair of the Ministers’ Committee for Settlement Affairs as well as the influence of others will be dealt with in discussions of later periods of the settlement process.