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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Shevat 14, 5768, 1/21/2008

      For Love of the Land



      despite the uncertainties, thousands of Jews continue to move to Judea and Samaria, demonstrating that their love of the Land, and their faith in our Divine right to it, remains unshakeable
      Here is a remarkable statistic.

      Israel's Interior Ministry reports that the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria (which the media refers to as the "West Bank"), soared in 2007 by 5.2 percent. That's three times the pace of population growth within pre-1967 Israel.

      As a result, the total number of Jews living in these areas went from 268,000 to 282,000, with the rise due to a combination of natural growth and migration.

      What makes this development so significant is that it took place despite the Olmert government's attempts to strangle Jewish life across the Green Line. Olmert has imposed unprecedented restrictions on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, and he has made clear his intention of handing the land over to the Palestinians as part of any future peace deal.

      Nevertheless, despite the uncertainties, thousands of Jews continue to move to Judea and Samaria, demonstrating that their love of the Land, and their faith in our Divine right to it, remains unshakeable.

      May their numbers continue to grow.