A delegation of members of South Carolina’s legislative body is visiting Israel during these Intermediate Days of Sukkot. The delegation has dedicated a large part of the visit to Judea and Samaria, with a special emphasis on the area of Gush Etzion.
During the visit yesterday (Tuesday) of the delegation, headed by Representative Alan Clemmons, there was a tour of the Oz veGaon preserve, located near Gush Etzion Junction, with the participation of MK Shuli Mualem, head of the Jewish Home faction in Knesset.
Senator Clemmons was the key speaker during the tour, which was not his first tour in Judea and Samaria in general and Gush Etzion in particular. Clemmons was the representative that led the revolution in the platform of the Republican Party, President Donald Trump’s party, when he removed the mention of two states and dividing Jerusalem as a diplomatic vision and objective.
In his speech before the members of the delegation, Clemmons noted that in the past, he also believed in what he defined as “the politically correct narrative”, according to which, there is no Jewish history in Judea and Samaria, there is no evidence that testifies to Jewish habitation of this area in the past and that it is “Arab land” that had been taken by the Jews in 1967, but this concept changed after a meeting with the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, who “opened his eyes so that he could see the reality, the truth, the concrete evidence, that you (turning to the legislators) have seen and will continue to see while you are here”.
Clemmons added emphasis to his words, declaring: “Here is the heart of the Jewish Land. This is the historical homeland of the Jews. This is where Moses brought the Israelites from the desert; this is where they came to, this is their most precious asset. To cut away part of this Land from the Jewish People is like cutting out the heart of the Jewish People”.
Relating to the reversal that occurred in the Republican Party platform, he said: “I think that the most significant element in removing the two-states idea from the Republican platform is that it is not my place, or your place, or the place of the president of the U.S. to decide for Israel what should be her path to peace. This decision must be taken by Israel herself. This decision must be made by Israel together with the regional leaders, and then the U.S., as the best friend and closest ally of Israel, will have to stand by Israel’s side and support her decision. But let me be clear, whatever the decision will be, this land that we are now standing on will always be the heart of the Jewish nation, and I learned this from the two teachers, Yehudit and Nadia, and I must not forget my friend Eli (Piepsz) who introduced us”.
About Oz ve Gaon, Clemmons said: “This beautiful place is a symbol of all of Judea and Samaria. The heart of the Jewish People is here among the stones, the soil and the trees and the harshness of this amazing Land”.
As he spoke, he turned to MK Shuli Mualem, who, as mentioned, accompanied the visit, and thanked her for her support. “I must say that I have been following your political career since you entered public life. Yesterday I spoke about the importance of moral clarity to the public servants. You, Shuli, are a person of integrity and great moral clarity. I admire you for this. Thank you very much”.
Clemmons ended his words with thanks to the five members of the delegation who took part in passing the resolution stating that Israel is not an occupier of lands that belong to another people, but rather that the Land of Israel was given by G-d to the People of Israel.
Before Clemmons’ speech, Yehudit Katsover, who hosted the tour, spoke on behalf of Women in Green, welcoming the visitors with these words: “There are Jews who would have preferred that we could live in Sweden and Switzerland, but the Almighty designated this land, this special place, for us. Precisely here, among these neighbors. The Almighty decided the place for every people in accordance with its particular role.
It is everyone’s job to bring goodness and morality to the world. Morality is not to surrender to those who are skillful at deceit, it is not to surrender the land that the Almighty gave us. On the contrary, the intention to surrender parts of our homeland is an immoral thing, since this means giving up the role that the Almighty has designated for us”.
Continuing her speech, Katsover emphasized the vision of sovereignty that she promotes along with her partner in the leadership of the movement, Nadia Matar: “Here, in Judea and Samaria, the story of the Jewish People’s history is unfolding. Here, on this hilltop, the People of Israel took form and struck roots. We thank Alan Clemmons for faithfulness to the word of G-d and those who accompany him, who took the first, very significant step toward removing the clause in the Republican platform calling for “two states”. This step is extremely significant but we must continue to demand the application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and that is what we have been trying to do for a number of years. We would be very pleased for you to join us and take part in this moral process”.
MK Mualem Refaeli also found it fitting to note in her speech the importance and necessity for the vision of sovereignty, saying: “This Land has claimed many casualties. I lost a husband of very high rank in the military. I was left with two daughters and had to decide whether my misfortune would cause me to remain in mourning, or to continue to live a meaningful life. I decided to choose a meaningful life and now I have been in the Israeli Knesset for 5 years and have been trying to promote everything that is precious and important to this People.
The State of Israel is in its 70th year. The 50th year since the liberation of Judea and Samaria. This is a critical point for the State of Israel. The time has come to apply sovereignty over the Land of Israel. The time has come for resolution”.
Nadia Matar presented Clemmons and the members of the delegation with the results of a survey that was carried out in preparation for the most recent Sovereignty Conference and the publication of issue no. 8 of the Sovereignty Journal, which found that 75 percent of the citizens of Israel want the application of sovereignty in various ways, while only 7 percent are interested in establishing a Palestinian state. Katsover and Matar noted: “We are sure that the impressive result that was represented by the survey stems from, among other things, Clemmons’ courageous step”.
The event ended with all of the members of the visiting delegation receiving a folder with issues in English of the Sovereignty Journal that have been published to date.