The youth will lead the sovereignty revolution

First-ever Sovereignty Conference for Youth gives Israeli youth the tools to explain what they stand for - not just what they stand against.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Sovereignty Conference for Youth
Sovereignty Conference for Youth
Eliran Aharon

Over 1200 young people from all parts of the Land gathered Sunday in the heart of Jerusalem to take part in the first Sovereignty Conference for Youth.

The event was a direct outgrowth of the Sovereignty Youth’s hasbara campaign, which was carried out in many locations throughout Israel and is the initiative of the youth itself and was organized by the Sovereignty Movement, founded by Women in Green. The event was hosted by actor and comedian Matan Tzur (Underdos).

In their opening words of greeting, Sovereignty Movement co-chairwomen Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar expressed their elation at the presence of the great number of youths that gathered for the event.

“There is nothing more ethical than the struggle for sovereignty, because this is our Land. Only the application of sovereignty will prevent the terrible sight of destruction and uprootings. The youth is the leader of revolutions,” Katsover declared,.

Matar, for her part, added the words of Trumpeldor about the willingness to be a wheel, a screw or any other part missing from the “Zionist train.”

“The application of sovereignty is the political initiative that will lead the Land to true security and peace,” she stated.

After these words of welcome, the participants of the conference welcomed Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu who blessed the attendees with “strength, health, power, grace, all good things, success and valor.”

“It is a pleasure to see so many soldiers volunteering for this purpose, which is the most just,” Rabbi Eliyahu said, noting the uniqueness of the commandment to conquer the Land as a positive commandment from the Torah.

“The application of sovereignty is not a nationalist course of action, but a commandment that appears dozens of times in the Torah,” he explained. “The word ‘and you shall inherit’ [which is one word in Hebrew] means ‘you shall conquer.’”

“The Gemara (Talmud) says, and it is likewise stated adjudged in the Shulchan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law) and in Mishna Berurah, that anyone who sees the cities of Israel in ruins must tear his garment. Rabbi Yosef Karo says that a city in ruins is a city under foreign domination even if it is magnificent. In the Oslo Accords, my father (Rav Mordechai Eliahu, zt”l) said to one of the members of Knesset ‘Know that on the day that you sign the transfer of sovereignty to the Palestinians, you must tear your garment.’ A member of Knesset asked him ‘why that is so? After all, the buildings remain in the same place.’ My father explained to him that the transfer of sovereignty is destruction. In contrast, the return of sovereignty is rebuilding the Land of Israel.’”

Rabbi Eliyahu emphasized that his confidence in the process of sovereignty stems from one simple reason: “Because the Almighty made a covenant on this issue. He made a promise to the People of Israel and the forefathers ‘and to your seed I will give this Land.’ This is bestowing ownership.”

“There are those who say that this is not realistic,” he added. “A hundred and fifty years ago there was a Jewish judge in the High Court of Germany who said that if anyone who believes that Jews can emigrate to the Land of Israel, to settle it, to conquer it and to build up Jerusalem, I will put him in prison, not because he is dangerous but because he is insane. This was the real situation at that time, but thanks to the Almighty, our fathers listened to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and immigrated to the Land, built it up and settled it. When my grandfather bought land outside the walls of Jerusalem, they told him that it was not logical and also when Yosef Abu went to buy the swamps of the Valley of Jezreel, and also when Ben Gurion began to settle the Negev.”

A representative of the Sovereignty Youth, Hillel Braley Suissa spoke, emphasizing the importance of deep knowledge on the topic of sovereignty: “After two thousand years of longing, after seventy years of this small country of great achievements, the next task is sovereignty. Judea and Samaria belong to Israel just as Tel Aviv and Tiberias do,” he said.

He added that when the People of Israel demonstrate their deep consciousness of the connection between the People of Israeli and its Land, the surrounding nations will understand it as well. “We have the power to change reality. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We demand a change that will give us a better tomorrow.”

Journalist and publicist Sara Haetzni Cohen told attendees about the journalistic campaign that she led throughout the Land in order to clarify the right’s political plan, which no longer only says what not to do, but also presents an orderly plan.

According to her, the campaign began with a meeting with a former leftist hi-tech person, as she defined it, who told her that today it is clear to him that in the new Middle East there is no possibility for two states, but he wanted to hear about other possibilities from her.

“I found myself stuttering,” she said, “and I undertook an ideological journey with Makor Rishon with the goal of changing the equation. Not to say what cannot be done, but to say what should be done. I felt that the right was busy with the appropriate and important struggle to slow things down, but it did not take initiative. I understood that if today, a friend from Tel Aviv asks me what is the next step, and I do not know what to answer, we have a problem.”

“There are those who speak of a ‘status quo’ and normalization of the conflict. There is no such thing as a status quo. Go and see how Area C is being taken over. If we do not take responsibility no one else will do it for us. They are doing a ‘copy and paste’ from Zionism and use the method of ‘one more goat and one more acre.’ They say that if they do not succeed in the PLO’s plan of phases then they will conquer another acre and another acre of land. This is why sovereignty is the answer.”

Haetzni Cohen noted that US President Donald Trump’s term will end in about another two years and since we cannot guess what will come afterward, we must take advantage of the current political window of time.

“There is no time. Tectonic changes are happening in the Labor Party, Amos Gilad says that the calm of Oslo has cost more than a thousand lives. There is a change in public opinion in Israel, but if there is no plan we will miss the opportunity. If we believe that this Land is ours then let’s behave as if this Land is ours,” she emphasized.

Later on in the conference, there was a dialogue between members of Knesset Sharren Haskel of the Likud and Bezalel Smotrich of Jewish Home.

Haskel, who is promoting legislation for the application of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, stated: “Sovereignty is the correct, just and ethical thing to do and therefore we must act and do it. There is a broad consensus today among the People and an understanding in the international arena regarding the Jordan Valley and the area north of the Dead Sea. So let’s do it as a first step and later, we will continue onward to a broader series of steps in the advancement of sovereignty.”

Haskel noted how Israel had to cope politically with the Obama administration, which put pressure on the Israeli government for a solution that was not consistent with the Israeli concept or with Israel’s ability to defend itself.

“When they tried to force it upon us, a complex situation was created. Today a window of opportunity has opened. We cannot know what will be in another year or two and therefore, how is the right time to apply sovereignty,” she said.

In the beginning of his speech, Smotrich expressed his amazement at the number of youths who had gathered: “Who would have believed, five years ago, that over a thousand young folks would come to this hall to argue about where sovereignty should be applied first: in the Jordan Valley, in Ma’ale Admin or in Area C? We are living a miracle.”

According to him, the correct step now is “to apply sovereignty on all areas of Jewish settlement. Why, even Netanyahu says that no communities will be uprooted,” Smotrich mentioned. “We are talking about sovereignty as something ideological stemming from a religious source: the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, but the great innovation is that sovereignty has also become Labor’s political plan. It is not only an ideological issue. Ideology turns out to be the only plan for peace and security.”

Regarding the political plan that he presented a number of months ago, Smotrich said: “We have two conflicting nationalist aspirations that cannot coexist. The Arab nationalist movement was invented as a movement against Zionism. The Palestinian movement is a fiction and Ben Gurion and Golda have also said this. If the Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist as a national home for the Jewish People, they go back to being Arabs like any other Arabs, and therefore, there is no chance that they will agree to live behind any border. When we apply sovereignty and establish many more communities like Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim, no reasonable person would think it could be reversible, and then, when there is no hope Arab, there will be no terror.”

After this part of the conference, Dr. Irit Alon took the stage and gave the youths a quick lesson in public speaking. This is part of the preparation and training for discourse and discussions in which the youth are expected to take part later on, in arguments between the opponents of sovereignty and the supporters of sovereignty.

The next part of the conference was designated for the youth movements. Representatives of Beitar, B’nei Akiva, Ezra and Ariel, one by one, expressed their position on the vision of sovereignty and ways to integrate the movement into advancing the process.

The representative of the Beitar movement mentioned how Zeev Jabotinsky, the movement’s founder, defined sovereignty as “All of Zion is ours.”

“Beitar had the privilege of establishing communities including some in Judea and Samaria and we are proud to act in these communities as well as others, to educate the youth for Zionism. Not to be afraid to say what is ours. Along with education, we teach about the iron wall. We do not expect someone to extend his hand to us because he is on our side, but because he has understood that he has no choice. When we are strong that’s what will be,” he said.

Ezra's representative said, “It is natural that sovereignty takes root among the youth, because adults think that it is difficult to change what has existed for many years. Adults are used to the situation where indeed, we live here, but there is no investment in infrastructure, the roads are narrow and it is extremely difficult to have them improved. In contrast, the youth does not accept this illogical and unreasonable situation. We have the energy and ambition to get up and take action.”

Ariel's representative quoted the words of Naomi Shemer to parents, not to speak of the Land of Israel from humbleness, and from the idea that to understand that it is not enough to apply sovereignty by law, but that we must connect the People to the Land “and this is the task for which we rise each morning.”

The B’nei Akiva movement's representative quoted the resolution made at the movement’s recent conference. According to the resolution, B’nei Akiva calls for the application of sovereignty while taking into account the rights of minorities. According to him, this was a decision that all the panel members could sign. His words arouse thoughts of joint action for the promotion of sovereignty with hasbara activities, as well as a practical and ideological connection to the heritage and this part of the Land.

The last panel of the Youth Conference opened the stage for questions from the youth itself, answered by a team of experts in various fields.

Regavim activist Meir Deutsch mentioned that the State of Israel was not established in 1948, but in the fifty years preceding 1948, by acquiring land, building communities and paving roads and so forth. Today, he says, the Arabs are copying these steps and are determining facts on the ground as long as there is no political process to apply Israeli sovereignty on the area.

“In Judea and Samaria there is no freeze,” he declared: “because the Arabs are building all the time.”

Demographer Yoram Ettinger answered a question from the audience on the demographic threat, saying: “When Herzl began his Zionist process he stood up against prominent demographers who tried to convince him that there was no use in his process since he would be establishing an entity with a small Jewish minority against an enormous majority. Herzl did not heed them and the situation today proves who was right and who was wrong. Ben Gurion, in the forties, received a demographic forecast from the Bureau of Statistics and they tried to prove to him that he was being unrealistic because he would be establishing a state that would have an Arab majority and a Jewish minority and his answer was that a leader does not accept demographics, he creates demographics. The experts said that there is no chance.”

Ettinger also noted that the dismal situation of today is that “the civil and military establishment, including most of academia, echo the official Palestinian data. They say that in the Oslo Accords Israel committed to transferring the responsibility to the Palestinians, so they instructed the Central Bureau of Statistics to cease examining the Palestinian data and rely on their data in which they inflate the number by a million two hundred thousand in Judea and Samaria and half a million in Gaza.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) according to its pronouncements, also counts more than 400 thousand Arabs who have been living outside of Judea and Samaria and Gaza for more than a year, he explained. This is against the international standard, which requires not counting citizens who have been outside of the country for more than a year. The PA also counts the Arabs of Jerusalem as part of its population. So the Arabs of Jerusalem are counted twice, between the river and the sea. The PA also does not the negative balance of migration. They claim that there is no negative balance of migration despite the data from border crossings, which show that there are twenty thousand people who leave every year.

Brig. Gen. (res) Amir Avivi believes that sovereignty can be implemented by diverting surplus IDF forces into internal missions in which they invest in the fight against incidents of agricultural theft, stealing land and more. According to him, there is no reason to be impressed by the only claim, as he defined it, against sovereignty, which is harm to Israel’s Jewish character. He says that the awarding of autonomy is the simplest answer to this question.

Jerusalem Municipal Council member Aryeh King answered a question relating to international criticism, and he mentioned that “when there were waves of immigration to Israel, there was no support from the world; the steps that Ben Gurion took were not supported and in the actions after ’48 we see that the nations tend to act against us. Therefore, the message is that we should do what is good for us and not what they say. If we think that something is good for us, for reasons of faith, security and values, then that is what will be done, even if there is criticism.”

According to King, “it all comes back to our leaders. If the leadership believes in our right to the Land, it will do it and most of the nations of the world will accept it.”

The conference concluded with a mass online quiz game in which the youth who participated in the conference answered trivia questions about sovereignty and won points that led to prizes, followed by an exciting dance performance by singer Elisha Birnboim and his group.

Katsover and Matar summed up the event by saying: “The youth that led to the establishment of this conference understands the meaning and the historical mission that is placed on their shoulders. The conference constitutes the first of additional Sovereignty Youth conferences. The youth will lead the revolution with courage, strength, pride and especially, the deep understanding of the magnitude of the hour and the task ahead of them. We can depend on them.”