The Settler: A Chat With Orit Arfa

Varda Epstein writes: It’s ten years since Israel, under late prime minister Ariel Sharon, expelled over 11,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and parts of Samaria. The government called this plan the “Disengagement.” But for those forcibly ejected from their homes (and their supporters), the Disengagement will forever be known as the “Expulsion.”

More than 11,000 rockets have been shot into Israel from Gaza, since that time, more than one rocket per every Jew expelled as a result of Sharon’s unilateral gesture of peace. By all accounts, “Disengagement” is an absolute, and utter failure, proving the point that “Land for Peace” is a nonsensical idea that does not work. Not to mention the fact that over 300 Jews are still homeless as the result of the Disengagement/Expulsion, with no solution in sight.

It is rare to read or hear about the 11,000 expellees; but now, ten years on, Orit Arfa has written a work of historical fiction cum romance that makes Disengagement/Expulsion come alive for the reader. Arfa’s writing voice is bright and sassy, much like the book’s heroine, Sarah, AKA “Shachar” Dakar. For the first time, we have an English language depiction of what it is like to be a Jew being thrown out of her home by Jews in the Jewish State.

Youtube Published on Aug 10, 2015:

In August 2005, author, journalist and singer-songwriter Orit Arfa experienced an event that changed her life. She witnessed the forced evacuation of 9,000 Jews from theirs home in Gaza, by their own army, in what is known as the “Disengagement.” Political opinions swirled around the event, but for Orit, what hurt most was the heartbreak and suffering inflicted on these good people, and the lack of empathy people felt towards their loss.

She set out to write a novel, “The Settler”, about the crisis of faith this event triggered among the youth – a novel about love, about the search for one’s self, and ultimately about the power of music.

Throughout “The Settler”, the heroine discovers the healing power of music, and writes “Home (Lives in My Song)” to share her loss, and her certainty that her home will never die. This is the first single to be released off the upcoming album inspired by this musical novel.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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