For the first time ever, four Israeli government ministers, two Israeli Consul Generals and 350 AIPAC participants attended a celebratory event to mark 50 years since the liberation of Judea and Samaria. Attendees were invited to sample some of the fine produce of the region including wine, dates, halva and dead sea cosmetics. While Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant MK (Kulanu), Minister Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippy Hotovely (Likud) all publicly affirmed their commitment to the continued Israeli resettlement of Judea and Samaria. Ambassador Dani Dayan, the former YESHA Council Chairman and now Israeli Consul General to New York also delivered a powerful speech to jubilant crowd.
Yishai Fleisher, International Spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron emceed the event and opened by pointing out that the weakness of traditional response to the accusation that Israel stole and is occupying Palestinian land. “They say ‘you stole our land’ and we say ‘but we created the cell phone’”. Instead, Fleisher urged clarity, and to tell the world that Judea and Samaria belongs to Israel and that the Jewish State intends on holding on to it, developing it, settling it, and indeed, annexing it.
However, Fleisher explained that the event at Washington was "not intended as a protest but rather as a celebration of the miracles of the Six Day War and of the reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of the ancestral homeland."
Housing and Construction Minister Major General (Res.) Yoav Gallant told the YESHA Council supporters that: “There is no way that Israel can exist without the high mountains of Judea and Samaria.”
Minister Tzachi Hanegbi added: “Defense is important & security is important but the most important thing is the moral claim of Israel and we are committed to living in our regional land, land that was given to us not by Google or Wikipedia but by the Bible King David, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, Abraham and this is the right, which we are going to demand our right forever and ever.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippy Hotovely was greeted with applause as she stated: “We need to go to a million settlers in Judea and Samaria - with a US embassy in Jerusalem. We need to think of new ways of thinking that will include Judea & Samaria under Israeli sovereignty forever.”
Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan committed to doing everything in his power to strengthen the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria by improving “roads, infrastructure, laws and everything that needs to be done to ensure that there will be one million Israelis living in Judea and Samaria - that’s not far away, its doable.”
Dani Dayan. Former YESHA Council Chief Foreign Envoy, who currently serves as Israel’s Consul General to New York explained that he left Tel Aviv 29 years ago to live in Samaria because “it was the right thing to do” He added: “ I have a large living room (in my home in Samaria), from one window we see the west, we Tel Aviv as if it’s in the palm of our hands and every morning when we see Tel Aviv from my window we know that we are shielding, we can prove mathematically that its either us, my neigbors and especially the IDF or a Palestinian hostile entity that will use those very hills to an attack Tel Aviv, so we guarantee the existence of Tel Aviv.”
Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat and YESHA Council Chief Foreign Envoy described the event as: "The first time that the YESHA Council has harnessed the deep support for Judea & Samaria that exists within the robust pro-Israel community that AIPACs delegates exemplify, it was a perfect representation of the motto of the 2017 AIPAC policy conference: Many Voices, One Mission. He added: "This is yet another step in our strategic plan to educate the world about the reality in Judea and Samaria."
The YESHA Council is the official representative organization for the 420,000 Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.