Members of the International Board of Dutch-based Christians for Israel (CFl) met with Jewish leaders from communities in Judea and Samaria, on Tuesday. The event was hosted by Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC Heartland).
The two Christian groups have been politically active for many years on behalf of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Two years ago, CFI published a photo book entitled Judea and Samaria in Dutch and today, launched the English translation of the book, which will be marketed to Christians all over the world. The book includes photographs of views and communities throughout Judea and Samaria, alongside verses from Jewish scriptures which relate to the places shown.
CFI representatives from all over the world gathered in Israel this week for their annual international board meeting, dedicating the day to the subject of Judea and Samaria. After a lecture on the region from a biblical perspective by Yossi Maimon, a tour guide, the group visited the Nahalat Binyamin Winery, and then visited special needs children in Ofra.
The main event was a meeting between CFI representatives and Yesha leaders, which organizers described as powerful and moving. Yesha leaders in attendance included: Rabbi Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin; Naftali Bennett, Head of Yesha Council; Hananel Durani, Mayor of Kedumim; Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, Machon Zomet; Mr. Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat; and Moshe Goldsmith, Chairman of the Itamar Local Council.
CFOIC director Sondra Oster Baras opened the meeting by introducing the leaders to one another, after which Dr. Pinchas Gerber, head of the social services department, shared his experiences over the past few days in Itamar, as he and his staff have been working intensively with the families after the heinous terrorist attack on Friday night.
During the meeting Rev. Henk Poot and photographer Theo Hornemann presented their book, Judea and Samaria, to Yesha leaders as a symbol of solidarity with Jewish residents in those regions. Poot said, “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jews, to the Chosen People to the People of G-d. We are here to help the Jewish nation, throughout the Land of Israel. We are witness, with our own eyes, to the return of the Jewish nation to its land and draw encouragement and understanding of the spiritual meaning of these events from the words of Rabbi Kook.”
Theo Hornemann explained the raison d'etre behind the book: “This book was our initiative, Henk’s and mine, to find an effective and passionate way to communicate the message of the communities in Judea and Samaria to Christians all over the world. We wanted them to see the pictures so that they would see that the source of the Jewish right to this land is from the Bible.”
Naftali Bennett accepted the book on behalf of residents of Judea and Samaria: "We are dealing with great difficulties. We know how to conduct wars and we will overcome the terrorist threat. But the real battle today is one of public relations. Throughout the world, we are accused of being war criminals and our very right to exist in this land is called into question. We need you to help wage this battle.”
Baras closed the event with a prayer that the murderous attack in Itamar would be the last attack, and that peace and tranquility would reign in Israel, alongside international recognition of Jewish rights to all of Israel. “We, you and I, share the belief that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people because we see the Tanach as the living word of G-d. Thank you for standing with us.”