In a stirring speech delivered at the annual Bet El Institutions dinner earlier this week, former Arkansas Governor and US Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee said that the United States should immediately cease its funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and allocate the same amount to housing for Jews in Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank).
Huckabee, who led three groups to Israel this year alone, said that he always brings tourists to a random Palestinian shop to ask to see Israel on the maps sold in the store. The shopkeeper inevitably looks confused because Israel doesn’t appear on their maps, he explained.
Turning to the group, Huckabee then said:
“The Palestinians have refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel, and continue to teach in their schools that the Jews are targets for murder. This should be so unacceptable that the United States should send a simple message: Until the Palestinians are willing to acknowledge not only the right of Israel to exist, but until it tears every page of every textbook that has that kind of anti-Semitic, hateful, unacceptable, violent language within the textbooks for children - then not only will the US not support any type of negotiation, but the US will cease immediately to send another dime of support to the PA or to Gaza. And the money that would have been given will now go to send concrete to Israel so they can build new apartment buildings and neighborhoods throughout Judea and Samaria...”
In his speech, Huckabee questioned why the US government gets angry over construction of homes in the disputed territories. “If anything, our government should be encouraging Israel to build as many bedrooms as can be in Samaria, Judea and throughout the Land of Israel and especially in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem,” he declared.
Huckabee spoke before a crowd of 1,100 people at the Bet El Institutions dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, the largest Zionist Gala gathering in New York. Bet El Institutions, located north of Jerusalem near Ramallah, boast an IDF Preparatory Academy for Sephardic youth at risk, a Yeshiva Rabbinical Seminary with 350 students, two high schools for boys and girls, and the Arutz Sheva network, including the Hebrew BeSheva Newspaper.
Over recent weeks, Bet El has become a target of Arab attacks. Following three severe incidents, Security Chief Menachem Tzur, who lost his mother and brother in a terrorist attack outside of Bet El, has made a passionate call to aid Bet El in purchasing security equipment to increase the chances of thwarting a terrorist attack. Tzur feels it’s his responsibility to be extra vigilant in thinking through every possible terrorist scenario so that no family will have to go through what his family experienced firsthand.
“In my mind,” continues Tzur, “the current escalations are tests preceding a far more organized and severe attack-in-planning – this pattern has happened in other towns. We have an answer to bolster security on this part of town, but the cost is beyond the municipal budget which is tight as is. I call upon fellow Jews and Lovers of Zion the world over not to stand idly by, but rather to help us reach our goal in the next 4 days so that we can swiftly proceed to purchase the equipment needed.
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