As of December 12, 2014, there were 389,250 Jews residing in Judea and Samaria. This represented a 4.6% growth in population while the increase in all of Israel stood at 1.9%. Today, they stand at 407,118.
In addition, about 375,000 Jews live in the Jewish neighborhoods of "East" Jerusalem, which actually go from Gilo and Armon Hanetsiv in the south to Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Pisgat Zeev in the north. They contain the majority of Jerusalem's Jewish residents.
Actually, close to 800,000 Jews live over what is called the Green Line (pre 1967 borders) and serve, with G-d's help, to ensure that the heartland of Israel will flourish and grow in the coming years – and will stay in Jewish hands forever.
Several years ago, I appeared in a panel discussion for seniors at a secular high school in the center of Jerusalem. The late publicist Didi Manusi was another participant in the panel as well as (may he merit long life) hareidi MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler. The question posed by the youngsters was "What does it mean to be a Jew in Israel today?"
Did Manusi answered that Israel, as a country that absorbed populations from various countries must consider all of them as equal citizens in every way and become a state of all its citizens using the United States as a model. To be a Jew, according to him, is to be an Israeli and not necessarily to be attached to a Jewish homeland, Jews in the diaspora or Jewish heritage – a new Israeli, a "Canaanite" is what he called it.
MK Eichler was shocked by what he heard from his fellow panel member, and said forcefully that Manusi's words are what the Israeli media emphasizes, that we are in a terrible period of exile and that we must strengthen ourselves and fortify ourselves with Torah while awaiting the Redemption, at which time the Messiah will bring all of Israel back to Torah observance.
In my words to these high school seniors, I took a different approach. If we want to know what it means to be a Jew in Israel today, I said, we have to see how the nations of the world define the Jewish world. The Roman Caesars who exiled us for a 2000 year period believed that the problem was the connection of the Jewish people to its land and its willingness to undergo martyrdom for that Promised Land. The way to destroy the Jewish people was to exile them, cut them off from the land and watch them assimilate and disappear.
About 1400 years later, the Catholic torturers of the Spanish and Portugese Inquisition as well as the kings of England and Austria and the German princes were convinced that cutting the Jews off from their Torah and forcing them to convert to Christianity would lead to their hoped-for assimilation and disappearance.
I then told the students that 600 years later, the Germans and Adolf Hitler decided that every Jew, from the youngest to the oldest, communist or socialist, secular or haredi, is deserving of death. That's the only thing they thought could work to rid the world of Jews.
The lesson to be learned from that, I continued, is that to be a Jew is to be what the nations of the world have taught us defines a Jew - by what they tried to destroy: The land of Israel, the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the connection between them.
Today, the world would like to see the Jewish state in a ghetto spanning 13 kilometers from from the Mediterranean Sea to about 4-5 kilometers from Ben Gurion airport, which means that international pressure is focused on the struggle against the "resettlement" of the communities of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and the neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
The Jews of Israel must realize that if the world is busy attacking the living space of our country, we have to concentrate on increasing the number of Jews in the places on which they are focusing.