New York delegation visits Judea and Samaria to bring home 'the true story'

'People don't understand what actually goes on in Judea, Samaria,' delegate from Syrian Jewish community in New York tells Arutz Sheva.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Rafi Lazerowitz
Rafi Lazerowitz
Arutz Sheva

A delegation of American supporters of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria arrived in Israel this week, kicking off the first public relations tour of 2021 hosted by the Yesha Council.

Members of the delegation, which was organized by the Friends of Yesha Council organization, met with Yesha Council leaders, including chairman David Elhayani and CEO Yigal Dilmoni, as well as with senior Israeli lawmakers and ministers, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, MK Ofir Sofer, MK Orit Strook, MK Nir Barkat, MK Yoav Galant, MK Yuval Steinitz, and MK Moshe Arbel.

Arutz Sheva spoke with one of the delegates, Rafi Lazerowitz, who also represents the Chalabi-Syrian Jewish community in New York.

“I am one of eleven people from Brooklyn, specifically from the Syrian community, here on an educational mission. I’m working with the Yesha Council to bring back a lot of the messages they bring here for the Syrian community in the United States.”

Lazerowitz lamented the shallow understanding many people abroad have of the situation in Judea and Samaria.

“People don’t really delve into what is going on day-to-day on the ground.”

What do you want people to understand about Judea and Samaria?

“I think that people should understand that there is more than the headlines in Judea and Samaria. It is not just fighting, it is not just rocks being thrown on either side. There is a big push from the Yesha Council to expand economic peace, to expand the transportation and the building infrastructure. There is a lot going on here that people don’t know about that can make people’s lives much easier.”

Has hostility towards Judea and Samaria gone up under Biden?

“I feel as a whole since COVID, there has been a lot more hostility towards Judea and Samaria and towards Israel as a whole, especially in the Jewish community. There are a lot more people on social media, a lot more anti-Semitic things. That filters down to Israel and Judea and Samaria.”

“I hope that it is more towards the Trump administration’s policy towards Judea and Samaria, obviously. But we’ll see where it goes. Obviously, we want to be able to work with them, and this mission that we’re bring back to the states and to the Syrian community in New York will help.”

Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni said the visit is one of a series of steps taken by the Council to strengthen ties with the US.

“We are happy to host the first delegation this year from the Friends of Yesha Council in the US. Next week they will visit Gush Etzion, the Jordan Valley, Samaria, and Binyamin, with the goal of learning up close the strategic challenges of the settlement enterprise.”

“This delegation is one of a number of public relations measures taken by the Yesha Council in the US. We view them as partners and are very happy to have them visit Israel and in particular Judea and Samaria. We are planning for additional delegations, as the coronavirus situation permits.”