Latest update: October 7th, 2013
Nearly 40 years have passed since Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were liberated from the occupying Jordanians by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). That’s the same number of years the Jewish people wandered in the desert before they were allowed to enter the Promised Land.
God said to Moses and Joshua as they looked beyond Jericho to the Land of Canaan, “Behold, this is the land that I swore unto your fathers, and this will be the land of your People.”
The land was promised to the Jewish people, and it’s time for that promise to be effectuated – time for the land be annexed as part of Israel, time for Judea and Samaria to become fully integrated into Israel for our generation and for the generations to follow.
The Code of Jewish Law states that if a Jewish community, especially a border town, is attacked on the Sabbath, there is a clear obligation to react not only defensively, but also by taking up arms to preempt any such attack. Though this would entail performance of work normally forbidden on the Sabbath, Jewish law properly sees such a potential threat to one community as a threat to the land rights and integrity of the entirety of Israel.
When your neighbors attempt to undercut your rightful claim, you have an obligation to protect it. Until now, too many have accepted the Arab spin that Judea and Samaria are Palestinian lands occupied by Israel. It’s quite the opposite, of course, for it is the land of the Jewish people that was Arab-occupied for many years until it was liberated in 1967.
It is not coincidental that we recently read in the Torah portion about God’s promise of the land to Abraham. In the portion of Lech Lecha (Genesis 15:18) God tells Abraham unequivocally: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt…to the Euphrates river.” Again in 17:8 G-d makes clear that “I will give to you and to your offspringthe whole of the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession.”
The Bible could not be clearer about our territorial rights to every inch of the land of Israel.
We should be rightfully proud of the IDF’s performance in 1967. Israel did not invite that war, and yet the nation fought hard and recovered the land of its ancestors. Since that time, Israel has sacrificed territory in the Sinai and on the Golan Heights for peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and a limited truce with Syria. Peace with the Palestinians and other Arab countries has remained a far more distant possibility, even as Israel has looked to trade ever more land for promises of non-belligerence.
Only after the 1967 war did the Palestinians attempt to gain in defeat what they did not previously have – a state on the West Bank of the Jordan River. They nearly succeeded, with world opinion on their side and the willingness of Israeli governments to relinquish the land necessary for the creation of that state. But with each passing year it becomes clearer that the Arabs’ goal was as they always portrayed it in the Arabic media – the termination of the State of Israel.
Peace was refused to the Jews by the Arabs as far back as the Balfour Declaration – which included Judea and Samaria as part of the Jewish homeland. (Lost in 1947, the West Bank lands became part of the newly created state of Jordan.)
In the 1930’s, the Arabs, already aligned with the Nazis, pressured the British to bar Jewish refugees from Palestine. Why? Among other reasons, so that they would maintain their demographic superiority. As a result, untold numbers of Jews who otherwise would have been saved died in the Holocaust.
It is audacious for Arabs today to trumpet their greater numbers in Judea and Samaria, considering their actions and the impact of those actions on the Jewish death count in Europe. Imagine the number of Jews who would now be living in Israel if the Arabs hadn’t succeeded in blocking increased Jewish immigration in the thirties!
The Arabs have no claim to Judea and Samaria. There was never such a place as Arab Palestine on those lands. The historical usurpation that so many have bought into is insulting and derogatory to the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to the land, from biblical times onward. When we left the land, it was only because we were forced to leave. The only times when significant numbers of us did not return were those times when we could not.Howard Teich and Mendy Halberstam
About the Author: Howard Teich is a practicing attorney in New York City who has held multiple positions in the New York and national Jewish community. Mendy Halberstam is an ordained rabbi presently studying law at Florida International University.
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