Some 15 parliament members and around 150 other participants came today (Tuesday) to the central complex of the European parliament in Brussels for the inauguration ceremony of the group “Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament.”
The establishment of the group is the culmination of the efforts of the foreign relations department of the Regional Council of Samaria.
Head of the Council Yossi Dagan said of the event, “For some time now, they have been speaking to us, and not with us. We have come here in order to change that situation and in order to advance, by means of this group, the human rights of Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria, who can take nothing for granted. From the right to build to the right to organized emergency medical services, nothing can be taken for granted. This is a serious phenomenon, and the “Friends” will fight for this issue as other issues are fought for within the walls of the parliament.
MEP Petr Mach, head of the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament, said at the event: “We decided to establish a new group in the EP because we want to inform the public and the members of the parliament of how taxpayers’ money is used to suport terrorism in Israel, of how, at a time when Palestinian merchandise comes into Europe without being taxed, Jewish products are specifically taxed.”
“We want to notify the public and the members of parliament of this injustice and we want to work together to cancel the taxation on Jewish products and put an end to the supportive funding, whether direct or indirect, of terror in Israel, and Judea and Samaria in particular. This conference is a first step. The group established now will work from inside the parliament for the interest of Judea and Samaria,” he added.
Immediately following the announcement of the establishment of the group, the group held two working meetings on the subjects of BDS and delegitimization and the unmonitored transfer of EU funds to the PA, which effectively funds terror and incitement.
In addition to Dagan, 14-year-old Ayala Shapira, her mother Ruth and Lev Haolam founder Nati Rom made the trip from Israel to speak at the event.
Ayala, a resident of Samaria who at age 11 suffered burns over 40% of her body when terrorists threw a firebomb at the car she was in, also spoke about her experiences.
Rom spoke about his organization’s efforts to fight against BDS by distributing products from Judea and Samaria around the world. He emphasized that “the forces driving terror are the same ones that call for boycotting Israel. Communities must work together against this discrimination against Jewish products and preserve the free market. ”
Rom recalled a time that Prime Minister Netanyahu took part in preparing packages with Lev Haolam. The Prime Minister had stated that Lev Haolam’s project “is our answer to these attempts to harm the Jewish State. We will fight against the lies spread by the boycott.” Rom called on Israel-supporters to also take an active part in the project by signing up for Lev Haolam’s monthly packages.
In addition, during the event the participants toasted with wine provided by Lev Haolam and produced in Judea and Samaria, the heartland of Israel, and received other products from Lev Haolam producers in Judea and Samaria. After trying the products, participants promised to tell their friends to join the thousands of Israel supporters around the world receiving Lev Haolam packages every month containing goodness from Israel’s heartland.