Back in 1978, when he climbed onto an empty rocky hill in the middle of Samaria, along with several friends, to establish a settlement on the site, the founder and lifelong mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, already knew that the settlement would survive only if it were portrayed to the public as a “normal” town in all respects. Just like the cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa or Raanana. Since that time he has worked tirelessly to gain a place for Ariel in the national consensus.
He was not deterred by the fact that Ariel was built in the very heart of the Occupied Territories. Whenever anyone described him as head of the settlement of Ariel, or the media dared combine the words “Ariel” and “settlement,” the hot-blooded mayor would rush to defend his protégée and rage against its detractors. Nachman was willing to go to any lengths to gain recognition for his town as a town like any other, rather than part of the settlement enterprise.