Israel National News - Arutz Sheva spoke to Jack J. Gindi, CEO of American Friends of Judea and Samaria (AFJS) at the Knesset today (Friday), where members of the group met MKs, telling them about the importance of continued building of Jewish communities and strengthening of Jewish heritage in Israel's heartland.
"We try to teach American Jews about the importance of Judea and Samaria, its history, its people, and its diversity" says Gindi. "Driving down the roads of this region and seeing Arabs and Jews working together is the most beautiful thing and yet none of this ever makes the front pages of the New York Times or CNN and what we're doing is educating people [on a] grassroots level," he continues.
"As an Orthodox Jew who learned the Bible starting with kindergarten, I understand the Biblical importance of the cities and their names," says Gindi when asked about the importance of Judea and Samaria to the Jewish people. "We also understand that strategically, Israel needs these lands for many reasons," he adds.
"About a year and a half ago, I got to visit the Barkan Industrial Zone (in Ariel) and see Palestinian Arabs and Jews working side by side for the benefit of their families," recalls Gindi.
"What struck me...was that it's all about economic peace - Arabs and Jews working to provide a better tomorrow for their children and some of that never makes it to the headlines because it's all about politics. But when you see the it in person, you see a whole different side," he concludes.
Former editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom and current MK from the Likud, Boaz Bismuth, said during the meeting with the delegation that the real reason Judea and Samaria will always remain a part of Israel is not "security concerns" as many would like to believe - but the fact that these lands are an integral part of the Jewish State and it's our moral duty to settle them.
The delegation included Rafi Lazerowitz, head of American friends of Judea and Samaria, board members Jack Gindi and Jacob Albo, organization member Marcus Mizrahi, Shira Livman, the CEO of YESHA council and Yigal Dilmoni, former CEO of YESHA council.