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'How Can You Ban Jews from Judea?'

Marc Zell, the head of the Republican Party in Israel, said that Israel needed to be more forthright in its just claims to Yesha.
By David Lev
First Publish: 4/29/2013, 10:33 PM

Marc Zell, the head of the Republican Party in Israel, was at Ariel University for an event, and he said that Israel needed to be more forthright in its just claims to the land on which the university was built.

For historical, security religious, and other reasons, Zell said, “we have every right to live and prosper and create universities here in Judea and Samaria,” as well as in the rest of the land of Israel

One reason this has not happened, said Zell, is that “in the past, people in the government and the organized Jewish community have been uncomfortable saying this. But we can say it. There is a legal basis for us to say this,” as well as the other factors based on history and religion, he said. The Bible testifies to the link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. “I'm not trying to sound like a religious fanatic, but the Bible is a historical document as well.” It testifies to the connection between the Jews and Israel, said Zell, “and specifically this part of the land. That Jews should be prohibited from settling in Judea?”

We have to be sensitive to diplomatic issues, we are not living in a vacuum. But this goes to the core of our legitimacy as a state. If we have no right to live in Judea, in the very places where the Jewish people established its identity as a nation, as a major world religion, then we have to take the lead in changing that narrative and making the case for Jewish settlement in all of the Land of Israel. “If we don't make that case, it won't be made by others.”

On his recent visit, many Israelis were somewhat surprised by the positive attitude President Obama displayed towards Israel – both its security problems, and its historic and religious heritage. It was a distinct change from the attitude to Israel Obama displayed during his first term, and Zell welcomed “the change of tone and attitude by the President. The fact that he is making some change and amends from his first term on his Middle East policy is a positive thing.”

However, Zell added, Obama wasn't quite “there” yet. “There are some signs that he has not yet fully accepted the realities as they should be seen. For example, when Obama gave his speech here to college students, he specifically excluded students from this [Ariel] university. As a result, I protested and refused to attend, even though I was invited, because he was discriminating against Jews who attend this institution, because it happens to be over the green line. That's something he needs to come to grips with. I'm not optimistic, though, and I think the Republicans have a better sense of what Jewish rights are in the Land of Israel.”

" We have to claim those rights", Zell added, “and not be afraid to say it.”