Studying maps of the region
Studying maps of the regionIsrael news photo: Samaria Liaison Office

Sixty-five years after the defeat of the Third Reich, a senior delegation of European right-wing politicians toured Samaria Monday in support of the Jews who live there, whom they see as a bridgehead in the struggle against a common foe – Islamic jihadism and expansionism.

The delegation of senior European parliamentarians toured Samaria's Jewish communities Monday as guests of the Samaria Liaison Office, which said the group was “unprecedented” in its political importance. The parliamentarians learned from up close about the strategic value of the region and visited sites of historic and biblical significance.

The delegation included 35 senior European parliamentarians from Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Britain and Sweden, including some who are believed likely to one day head their countries. Germany, Austria and Italy, under extreme right-wing parties, were at the heart of the Axis that fought a genocidal war against the Jewish nation and a war of conquest against the Allied Powers in the 1930's and 40's. 

A spokesman for the Shomron (Samaria) local authority explained that most of the visitors were from what is known as the “New Right” in Europe. These are parties that support Israel, renounce anti-Semitism and see the Islamic takeover of Europe as a clear danger, the Samaria spokesman said. Most of the touring parliamentarians were Christians, while some were Jews. The visitors agreed that Judea and Samaria constitute Jewish land.

The group included Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party, who is seen as a likely candidate to become the next chancellor of Austria; Filip Dewinter of Belgium's Vlaams Belang party; MP Frank Creyelman, who heads the Belgian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee; René Stadtkewitz, Chairman of Germany's Freedom Party; and Claus Pandi, editor-in-chief of Krone Zeitung, the biggest newspaper in Austria. The visit coincides with that of Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders in Israel.

The parliamentarians visited secular and religious communities including Barkan, Elon Moreh and Har Bracha, in order to get a better understanding of Jewish residents' motivation for living in the contested biblical land.

Group photo by Ishi Hazani, Mirkam Studio.