Children in a Yesha town
Children in a Yesha town

The radical left-wing Peace Now organization claims it has found that 73% of Israelis -  including Arabs - have not visited Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) in the past five years. 

To rectify this, and to promote the cause of separating Jews from their Biblical homeland areas of Judea, Binyamin, and Samaria, Peace Now plans to organize and subsidize trips to these areas in order to explain why Israel must abandon them.

The first such trip apparently took place on Friday.  A busload of "tourists" arrived at the entrance to Beit El, in Binyamin, north of Jerusalem, but was turned back and not allowed entry.

Despite this, many Jewish settlement organizations in Yesha have expressed enthusiasm at the idea, hoping to use it for their own ends.  Some say that it will be a fine way for Israelis to get to know the "wonderful youth of Yesha," and others feel it might encourage people to want to move there. It has also been noted that if Israelis see how close Yesha truly is to central Israel, they will realize the importance of keeping it and not handing it over to Fatah or Hamas.

Just over 500 people participated in the Peace Now survey, which was conducted by Maagar Mochot (Brain Base). Only 6% said they stayed away from Yesha for political reasons, while 46% said they were not interested.

Meanwhile, three Knesset Members presented a plan to leaders of the European Union for a relocation of all Jews from Judea and Samaria.  MKs Ami Ayalon and Collette Avital of Labor, and Avshalom Vilan of Meretz, took part in a weekend gathering with EU leaders - as well as with representatives of Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. 

The EU representatives reportedly welcomed the proposal with alacrity, explaining that it is an indication of future Israeli intentions.