TEL AVIV – Israel’s moral claim to the land of Israel comes from the Bible, not Google, an Israeli minister said in Washington on Tuesday at an event marking 50 years since the 1967 Six Day War.
“Defense is important and security is important, but the most important thing is the moral claim of Israel. We are committed to go forward with living in our ancient land, land that was given us not by Google and Wikipedia, but by the Bible; King David, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, Abraham – and this is the right [and] we are going to demand our right forever and ever,” Communications Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said.
The event, called “Celebrate 50 Years of Rejuvenation in Judea and Samaria,” marked the capture of the West Bank by the Jewish state in 1967’s defensive war. It was attended by nationalist Israeli ministers including Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli consul generals, settler leaders and 350 AIPAC participants.
The conference speakers expressed strong support for extending Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank, referred to by its biblical name Judea and Samaria.
Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) said, “For us, Judea and Samaria is Israel.” He added that control of Area C, the West Bank territory under Israeli civilian and military rule in which both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis reside, is essential for Israel’s continued security.
“There is no way that Israel can exist” without the Jordan Valley and the mountaintops of Samaria, he said. “Of course, it is difficult to have a strong Jerusalem without [the settlements of] Givat Ze’ev, Ma’aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion and all these places.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely spoke about Israel’s victory in the Six Day War.
“It was a just war. It is a just defense. But the most important one, it was based on a just claim. A just claim of the Jewish people on [the Biblical areas of] Beit El, Shechem, Jerusalem and Hebron,” she said.
“Let me tell you something, if those places are not Jewish, who can tell me that [the modern cities of] Herzliya, Rehovot, Rishon Lezion and Tel Aviv are Jewish,” Hotovely said. “I always say that the occupation is a myth, because we never occupied other people’s land. [Judea and Samaria] is Jewish land. This should forever be a Jewish land under Israeli law.”
“We need to get to a million settlers in Judea and Samaria – with a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. We need to think of new ways of thinking that will include Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty forever.”
Yishai Fleisher, the event’s MC and International Spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, criticized a common response to accusations of so-called Israeli occupation.
“They say ‘you stole our land’ and we say ‘but we created the cell phone,’” he said in his opening speech. Instead, Fleisher said, the world must be told categorically that the West Bank belongs to Israel and it will stop at nothing to annex and develop it.