The Sovereignty Youth movement held its traditional Hanukkah seminar on Tuesday at the Oz veGaon preserve, to strengthen and internalize the vision of the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
Public figures, politicians and dozens of youths from all parts of the Land participated in the event, which began with recorded greetings from Shlomo Ne’eman, the head of the hosting Gush Etzion Council, who expressed his confidence in the power of the youth to cause the sovereignty revolution, “which will surely come to be.”
Member of Knesset Sharren Haskel (New Hope) was the first speaker, and she focused her remarks on sovereignty over the Jordan Valley step which she has been seeking to promote since her first days in the Knesset because while the right and the left have focused on the disagreement between them over the future of Judea and Samaria, there is national consensus between the sides on the need for sovereignty in the Jordan Valley.
“The Jordan Valley is Israel’s security strip. The geography of the Valley makes it a strategic security asset that we cannot surrender,” Haskel stated.
She explained: “Separating Gaza and Egypt there is a space where smuggling cannot be prevented. Goods and terror weapons are smuggled through the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. The Egyptians deal with the tunnels by flooding them with water, which causes them to collapse, drowning anyone who is inside them. Israel does not use these methods. The hundreds of kilometers of border without Israeli presence in the East would be an invitation to terror tunnels that would make the tunnels connecting with Egypt seem like a joke. The border between Judea and Samaria and the Jordanians is five times longer than the border between Gaza and Egypt, and while in Gaza, the flow of weapons cannot be stopped, it would be several times worse with the Jordanians.”
She added: “Anyone who says that the Jordan Valley does not need to be in Israel’s hands, does not understand Israel’s security needs and is abandoning the security of Israel’s citizens. On this there is no dispute.”
Haskel went on to describe the campaign that she has been trying to promote since she entered politics, to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and she described the sense of excitement that she felt when Netanyahu spoke of the sovereignty that would be applied in the Jordan Valley.
She felt that it would have been possible and correct to consolidate a broad coalition in the Netanyahu-Gantz government around sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, especially in light of the commitment made by both the leaders to promote the step, with the consent of both the right and the left.
“There was a date given – the first of July. The week before that, in a meeting of the faction, we were told that it would be postponed, but that it would happen in the future. Another week passed and another month, and I saw how they were trying to dissolve the plan until the point where the government decided to give the plan up in exchange for peace with the Arab states,” Haskel said. “It was disappointing because it was a right-left government that had committed itself to the historic opportunity, which was missed.”
Haskel also noted that it was clear to her that “In the present government it will not happen, because we promised to preserve the status quo on both sides, including preserving the settlement enterprise.”
In the Questions and Answers segment, Haskel was asked by the youth about her joining the present government with its complex composition, which is freezing development of the settlement enterprise.
Haskel did not deny the complexity of the coalition. “If we don’t manage to preserve the State of Israel’s interests, we will not be part of this government,” she stated.
“The present coalition is super-complex. It could be a total failure but could also be a great success in coalescing the different populations and carrying out steps that have not been done for years. From the point of view of policy, it is no different from what I have seen in the six previous years when I was in the Likud.”
She explained that “we have made difficult alliances in order to pass the budget that disrupted the functionality of the authorities and to bring Israel out of the cycle of elections. The only reason that we agreed to enter the government with the Arab party Ra’am is because Ra’am promised to put its policy issues on the side.”
When she was asked about the American pressure to establish a consulate for the PA in Jerusalem, she stated resolutely that “It will not happen.”
Former Member of Knesset Professor Aryeh Eldad presented his plan at the event, absolutely rejecting the definition of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a territorial conflict.
“The most familiar type of wars in history are wars over territory and land,” noted Prof. Eldad, explaining that the assumption made by those who seek political solutions is that it in Israel’s case as well, it is a territorial conflict, which requires, by its very nature, a solution whose essence is dividing land between the two sides.
“This seems like the most logical solution. We divide the land between us and there will be peace.”
But Eldad states that this is a terrible mistake in analysis, as was proven when more and more political solutions, whose essence was a division of this sort, have failed and led to bloodshed that only worsened with every experience.
“This is not a territorial conflict. No reasonable person believes that if we give another kilometer to the Arabs there will be peace. The bad news is that there will never be peace with the Arabs because this is a religious war,” Eldad said. “For the Arabs, the Land of Israel is ‘waqf’ land that is forbidden to be surrendered.”
Eldad added: “Anyone who promises peace if only we divide the land is lying; and now, we can also claim that he is lying knowingly, because while in the past it might have been possible to attribute it to naivety, after the intifada, it is clear that no concession on the Land of Israel would bring about peace.”
“We want sovereignty not because the other things have failed, but because we are sovereign in our Land,” he continued. “What is correct for the Greeks in Greece and for the Italians in Italy is many times more correct for the Jews in the Land of Israel. We do not strive for sovereignty in order to base our governance in the Land of Israel but to express our true identity in the Land of Israel. A Jew is master and sovereign in his Land.”
Later on in his remarks, Eldad dealt with the claim of the left that we would lose the Jewish majority with the application of sovereignty. Eldad finds the answer to this issue in an idea brought up at the time before the creation of the State by UNSCOP (United Nations Social Committee on Palestine) that was sent by the UN to the mandatory Land of Israel in order to propose a vision for the way in which the Land of Israel would be managed after the British left.
The proposal created a division between a Jewish state and an Arab state, “but they see 600,000 Jews and 450,000 Arabs in the Jewish state. They saw this as a large, hostile minority that would not allow the Jewish state to survive.”
“So UNSCOP proposed that the Arabs in the Jewish state would be residents of the Jewish state and citizens of the Arab state,”said Eldad, mentioning the precedent of the Arabs of east Jerusalem who are defined as residents and therefore, do not vote for parliament.
“The proposal is to make a distinction between citizenship and residency. The purists will say that it is not democratic at all and this is true, but the demand that precisely here, in the most complex place, there should be a perfect democracy, is not logical,” he said, mentioning his old statement that Jordan is Palestine, a saying which distinguishes him from others on the right, who believe that we should remember that Transjordan also belongs to the People of Israel.
Eldad quoted the words of King Hussein of Jordan, that “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor.”
Journalist, author and historian of the settlement enterprise Hagai Huberman gave a fascinating, historical lecture during the seminar, in which he explained the history of the renewed Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria from its first days and he began his remarks with the ancient words of Rabbi Yudan on the three places that the nations cannot claim were stolen by the People of Israel, and these three are the focus of the Arab battle against the State of Israel – Hevron, Nablus and Jerusalem.
Huberman emphasized that “it is primarily we who need to know that these three places have not been stolen.”
“Zionism almost never ascended to the mountain,” said Huberman, explaining the settlement movement in the first days of Zionism and the turning point that occurred after the Six Day War, with the settlement activism of Gush Emunim led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger and Hanan Porat, obm, an activity that began in Hevron and Gush Etzion, continued through the communities of the Jordan Valley and onward to Samaria, to the situation of today, where the main route on the mountain is dotted with many Jewish communities.
Gilad Ach, CEO of Ad Kan, presented to the dozens of youths participating in the Sovereignty Youth’s Hannukah Seminar, various ways that his organization works in the battle against the delegitimization of Israel practiced by radical leftist organizations and Palestinian Arab organizations.
“These days, the practice of Zionism is confused because it is not clear what is good and what is bad compared to previous periods when it was clear who was the enemy and who was a friend,” Ach said.
“Today, the media, as well as other bodies, present the enemy a bit differently and this leads to confusion, especially among the youth, and confusion can lead to reckless acts. This is why we chose the longer path, establishing an NGO and work against companies and the media,” Ach began, describing the motto that led him to establish the organization and other NGOs.
Ach told of how his organization fought against the destruction of the environment by the Palestinian Authority, both with pirate quarries and turning Judea and Samaria into Israel’s landfill with the cooperation of criminal elements.
Later in his remarks, he explained and showed films documenting his organization’s activities within leftist organizations who stir up the Arabs of Judea and Samaria to violently battle IDF soldiers and police.
Thanks to his actions, Ad Kan managed to reveal the true anti-Israeli character of many of these NGOs and close them down.
Attorney Nili Naouri, CEO of Israel is Forever, told the participants of the seminar about the Zionist activity of her father, Jacques Kupfer, obm, almost a year after his passing.
In her remarks, she emphasized the resolve and vision that he radiated to the Beitar activists in France and among the immigrants from France in Israel, around the living and close connection to the Land of Israel.
Later on, the Sovereignty Youth Movement held a marathon of short TED lectures by veterans of the movement, who told of their experience of becoming aware of the ability of the youth imbued with faith, to breathe a new spirit into the idea and turn it into a legacy for the entire Israeli public.
The seminar concluded with a joint candle-lighting led by Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon, the rabbi of Gush Etzion.