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West Bank settlements become havens of Israeli surburbanites

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It's a sleepy area with little tension between the Jewish settlement and neighboring Palestinians villages, whose men work in Barkan. The community of 100-plus families identifies itself as a national-religious community – a stream of Israeli society that includes serving in the army and participating in the larger political and social fabric – making them distinct from most ultra-Orthodox.

And the price is right: The Ovadiahs paid $292,000 for a 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom home. A comparable property would cost at least triple in any of the outlying Tel Aviv neighborhoods where Moti and Vered both grew up.

"It's a settlement lite," Moti says somewhat jokingly. "It's not like moving to East Jerusalem, to the heart of an Arab neighborhood, or into Hebron. We heard a lot of positive things about the area, came and looked, and just really loved it."

Vered is less in love. She's not quite as enthusiastic about the location of her new home, mostly because – 20 miles from Tel Aviv and one checkpoint from the Green Line – it feels too far from the center of the country. Her own mother, who still lives in a Tel Aviv suburb and is concerned about the safety of the area, avoids visiting. Likewise, some friends won't visit.

"But everyone loves the whole bit about the big house and the yard, and the magical view," Vered says, looking at her watch and then down the slope toward the nursery where she's due to pick up Ishai in a few minutes. She's pregnant with their second child. "I just want to live my life," she shrugs. "Ideology doesn't interest me."

But it does Moti. After studying journalism, he's been working as an aide to a Knesset member from the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu Party. The party's leader, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, also happens to live in a settlement. (Moti didn't vote for them, but cast his ballot for another right-wing party.)

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