וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר עָלֹ֤ה נַעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ׃
Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” (Parashat Shlach, Bamidbar 13:30)
Almost 1000 energetic, motivated youth filled the halls at the Fifth Sovereignty Youth Convention organized by Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar. The young people came from Ramat Gan and Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem and Zichron Yakov, and from Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. My son Yehuda and I were among the participants at this amazing event!
The mission was clear: To rectify the sin of the spies 3000 years ago! To say loud and clear: the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel and we can and we must apply sovereignty over it, starting with sovereignty over the Jordan Valley first.
Members of Knesset, youth leaders, journalists and policy strategists spent four hours inspiring and educating, as well as giving practical advice to Israel’s future leaders. All agreed that the youth have the power to bring change, and that the advancement of sovereignty must come from the grassroots as well as the halls of power.
Members of Knesset from across the political spectrum explained that there is a consensus among politicians and security strategists about the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley is the Eastern border of Israel. When we don’t exercise sovereignty over the Jordan valley we leave open the possibility that a Palestinian state will be established there. Many speakers made it clear. Each moment that the government of Israel does not take sovereignty with responsibility over the area, it loses ground to illegal building and seizure of land. It’s time to put an end to the Six Day War and accomplish what Menachem Begin did in one day, three readings in the Knesset, in the Golan Heights.--establish Sovereignty over the Jordan Valley First.
All agreed that the time for words is over, and the time for action has begun. MK Yossi Taieb (Shas), the head of the Sovereignty lobby in the Knesset spoke excitedly to the crowd in a show of unity and vision. MK Dan Ilouz (Likud) in a recorded speech told the youth that this full right wing government has the power to apply sovereignty, and will be a failure if it does not!
David Elhiyani, the head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council and Shira Liebman, head of Judea and Samaria Regional Council said our goal is to double the population in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley from half a million to a million in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. Establishing new settlements is key to maintaining sovereignty, in addition to the actual application of sovereignty.
The speakers told the youth to pay attention to the agendas of different groups in society, and told them that they are the ones with the right perspective, despite the large numbers of people who have interests against sovereignty. One of the best presentations was by journalists Yotam Zimri and Noam Fathi who showed the youth what sovereignty of thought looks like, and how the media distorts headlines and manipulates the public into buying into a certain agenda. It is so important to know that sovereignty also applies to our ability to think independently.
Youth leaders Orit Mark Ettinger, Matania Shnerb and Naor Zimmerman gave the youth practical advice on how to initiate social change along with stories of success and personal reflections on the losses that motivated them to work hard for others. These speakers were truly inspirational.
Rabbi Lior Lavi got the crowd up singing and dancing and afterwards explained:
The eternal people is not afraid of the long road. But as Yehudit and Nadia like to say-- If the eternal people is afraid, the road is long.. To remedy the sin of the spies, we sing the praises of Israel. We say with pride that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. The spies made the short path to Eretz Yisrael long because they didn’t go and conquer the land that was rightfully theirs.
Rav Shmuel Eliyahu concluded by telling the youth that it is a mitzvah to settle the land of Israel, and the entire Torah is full of this mitzvah!
In the words of Yehoshua and Caleb, the Land of Israel is very, very good!!
Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.
We live in Zichron Yakov but we travel to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan valley whenever we can. We visit the archaeological sites, nature reserves and beautiful cities, towns and farms in the area. We know that the people there are strong, but they shouldn’t have to be alone in their struggle. It’s so clear when you visit these areas, and understand the topography and the landscape that the future of the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria is the future of the entire State of Israel. We have to motivate the youth all across the country on this important issue. Sovereignty is an existential issue for our security and for our identity.
Stay tuned for grassroots actions in the near future. My son left the conference super motivated and ready to start a local branch of the Sovereignty youth movement!
The Sovereignty youth is lighting the way for all of Am Yisrael!!