A new Land of Israel Forum has been formed in the Knesset, with representation from no fewer than seven parties. It is co-chaired by coalition whip MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union).
“The lobby will deal with strengthening the State of Israel’s grasp of the entire Land of Israel,” Elkin said at the lobby’s opening session on Tuesday, “and especially Judea and Samaria.”
"Every Jew has the elementary right to live wherever he wants in our land. If we get this message out to the whole nation, then we will once again see the land blossoming all over.”
Among the more than 30 members are Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, Communications Minister Moshe Kachlon, Science Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Herskovitz (Jewish Home), Minister-without-Portfolio Benny Begin, and MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima).
“We face many challenges and we have many problems,” Elkin said, “but still and all, the rate of growth in Judea and Samaria is the largest in the country. As with the Jews in ancient Egypt, the more they oppress us, the more we grow… Our purpose is to bring hearts closer together – religious, secular, hareidi. We are all united to strengthen the Land of Israel and develop Judea and Samaria.”
MK Eldad said, “There are black clouds over the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria… This lobby includes MKs from many Knesset factions to fight the Land of Israel’s fight.”
Minister Herskovitz: “One of the goals of the lobby is to promote legislation to strengthen settlement – legislation that already exists in the Bible. Unlike parliamentary laws, this one can’t be revoked. It is clear even to non-Jews with whom I meet... The problem is less with legislation and more with awareness and national [public relations], and that’s where we have to focus. Every Jew has the elementary and inalienable right to live wherever he wants in our Land. If we get this message out to the whole nation, then we will once again see the Land blossoming all over.”
Minister Benny Begin said, “The establishment of a foreign independent sovereign state headed by the PLO in parts of the Land of Israel stands in opposition to two basic ideas that are both supported by a majority of the Knesset: the absolute historic right of the Nation of Israel to the Land of Israel and the right of the State of Israel to national security.”
MK Rivlin noted, “We all share this mission, we were all elected to serve in the Knesset in order to fulfill our mission, and we are all tested at times when it is not easy to do so. We face doubts and heavy international pressures, and there are moments of weakness, and fears that the majority has given up the fight. But I believe that the nationalist camp is the force that will fortify the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and in Judea and Samaria.”
Minister Kachlon said, “As a Cabinet minister, I will try to serve as a mouthpiece for this lobby in the government. We know that settlement is one of Israel’s strong points, and certainly not an obstacle to peace.”