MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, arrived on Monday at Ma’aleh Adumim to participate in the second annual business conference taking place in the largest city in Samaria.
Lapid met with Mayor Benny Kashriel, as well as business owners, following which he gave a speech in front of a crowd of more than 500 participants in the conference. The speech focused on the political and economic effect that the EU decision to label products from Judea and Samaria is expected to have on products from the region.
Lapid started out by stating that in his opinion as well as the Yesh Atid party platform consider Ma’aleh Adumim to be part of Israel. “Ma’aleh Adumim, for me as well as my party, for the entire center bloc of Israeli politics, is part of the country of Israel. It will always be a part of Israel. There is no future agreement in which it is not a part of Israel.,” he said.
"I am a strongly opposed to the labelling of products that come from Judea and Samaria. It is a damaging and anti-Semitic step, and I have a campaign against it in Europe as well as in the United States. Sadly I was almost alone in that campaign, because the Israeli government didn’t showing up to the playing field," Lapid claimed.
According to Lapid, the labeling of products “is not a twist of fate, but rather a political maneuver which is part of a one sided political campaign. There was a conflict, and Israel didn’t take part in it. The Foreign Ministry is divided between six ministers and has ceased to function. The Israeli PR machine has been split among five different government offices and none of them know what the other one is doing. Not a single government ministry dealt with the ban. We woke up one morning, and the products from Ma’aleh Adumim now have a label on them.”
Lapid emphasized that the decision could be reversed, and that it will take hard work. He said that this is what he is currently working. “Over the past six months I have spent a lot of my time working to improve Israel’s Image abroad. I am telling you that it is possible to change this. We can change the opinions of people and even of countries with regards to Israel.”
“I sat with the Foreign ministers of many countries in the EU as well as Congressmen from the United States. We changed many things, we took off the table many attempts to bring harm to Israel. Not because we know things that other people don’t know, but rather because we came with an organized battle plan, and we were not willing to give in.”