Interview: Daniella Weiss

Fireband gran leading the settlers’ fight

By Nathan Jeffay, May 5, 2011

Firebrand grandmother Daniella Weiss is in fighting spirit. "We'll keep coming to rebuild, all of our lives," she says shortly after the Israeli army demolished her new West Bank outpost for the third time.

When 500 people gathered near Nablus on April 20 to establish Regev, now home to one family and 10 single men, the crowd hung on the instructions of 66-year-old Mrs Weiss. They were proudly contravening Israeli law, which only lets Israelis build in the West Bank within established settlements.

Regev is the first of five outposts that she committed her settlement movement, Nachala, to setting up earlier this year after suggestions in the media that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering withdrawals.

Mrs Weiss, a 66-year-old founding resident and former mayor of the settlement of Kedumim, has become an icon of youth on the radical right for her uncompromising stances.

Questioned on the legal status of Regev, she said that as one of the first settlers after the Six-Day War she "liberated parts of my homeland that were had been occupied illegally and now want to build on it - it's simple as far as I'm concerned." As for the international community's condemnation of outposts - and settlements in general - she states simply: "I don't care."

Mrs Weiss says that every moment of her time is spent on her ideological battles - except for Shabbat when her husband, four children and 17 grandchildren become her focus.

"I wake up every morning with an orchestra in my heart," she says. As well as fighting the government and army on the demolition of outposts, she is also engaged in a row with the official settler umbrella body, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, for negotiating with the government over outpost evacuation. "Their sin is that they are willing to compromise ideologically," said Mrs Weiss.

Last updated: 11:09am, May 5 2011