MK Matalon with Rabbi Elyakim Levanon
MK Matalon with Rabbi Elyakim Levanon Israel News photo: Shomron Regional Council

MK Moshe “Mutz” Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) toured the Shomron (Samaria) region on Tuesday. As part of the visit, Matalon visited the local communities and met with residents.

Matalon, a former chairman of IDF Disabled Veterans’ Organization, is considered one of the most prominent Knesset members on issues of social services and security. He was accompanied on his tour by Boaz Haetzni of the Shomron Residents’ Council and Yossi Dagan of the Shomron Residents Committee.

The visit began with a tour of the community of Barkan with Shomron mayor Gershon Mesika. From there Matalon and his staff continued to Nofim, Ariel, and the Tura boutique winery at Rechelim.

Later, the guests toured the Givot Olam Farm at Itamar and visited the community of Elon Moreh, where they met and spoke with the community’s rabbi, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who was just recently appointed Chief Rabbi of the Shomron.

MK Matalon then visited Maayan Kfir, an outpost dedicated to the memory of Avner Hezi Kfir (an IDF medic who was killed in action at the age of 20) which was demolished several months ago by the civil administration. He then visited Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) and had a meal with local residents, who told him about the police violence and their use of rubber bullets during the raid on the community several weeks ago.

Matalon returned to Nofim where he met with local youths, addressed them and praised them.

“Only those who come to the communities in Samaria can physically feel Israel’s narrow waist and the short distances between Nofim and the Ben Gurion Airport, between Elon Moreh and Herzliya, and between Itamar and Tel Aviv,” said Matalon.

“The distance between Tel Aviv and Samaria makes the Jewish residents of Samaria the real defenders of the country, just as the kibbutzim were in the past,” he continued. “I call on the Prime Minister and Defense Minister to stop holding these people hostage because of political games, approve building plans and permits as soon as possible and allow them to fulfill Zionism in all its glory.”

Matalon’s tour of the Shomron was part of an initiative which began more than a year ago as an outreach program aimed at making Israeli and international journalists, politicians and other opinion-shapers, many of whom are politically left-wing, less hostile to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria by seeing for themselves the vast open spaces, the thriving communities and the employment for the Arab sector in industrial complexes.

Among those to take part in the tours so far are former Justice Minister Professor Daniel Friedman, the staff of Yediot Acharonot, broadcaster Avri Gilad, and most recently, the staff of the radically left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Photos courtesy of the Shomron Regional Council

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