(March 7, 2018 / JNS) An event in support of Judea and Samaria organized in parallel to the 2018 AIPAC Conference reached maximum capacity on Monday night, turning away a long line of attendees who came to oppose boycotts against the region by the BDS movement and hear statements from Israeli officials on the future of the contentious area.
The gathering, organized in downtown Washington by the Council of Judea and Samaria, in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the Jordan Valley Municipal Council, took place as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.
Boutique wines and products from the region doled out at the evening program highlighted the area’s economic endeavors.
Israeli dignitaries addressing the crowd included Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, Consul General to Israel in New York Dani Dayan, and Judea and Samaria Council Chief Foreign Envoy Oded Revivi—all introduced at the podium by Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron.
“The Palestinian state is off the table … it’s done … Now the big question is how we progress,” said Bennett, who previously served as leader of the Council of Judea and Samaria. He urged Israel to take official steps towards sovereignty in the area.
Shaked praised the Trump administration for its “courageous” recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called the administration “very friendly” towards Israel.
As far as demographics go, Dayan made a point that “if we are foreigners to Judea and Samaria, then for sure we are foreigners to Tel Aviv. Therefore, our clear assertion that Judea and Samaria is the heartland of the Jewish people, the cradle of our civilization, the most central part, together with Jerusalem, of [our] Jewish being is the most clear claim against the delegitimization of all Israel.”