In a sharp rebuke to the Carter Administration’s affirmative vote for the anti-Israel resolution in the United Nations Security Council on March 1, representatives of seven American Jewish groups have announced plans to establish new immigrant communities in Judaea and Samaria.
At a joint press conference here several days ago, the representatives of the groups –comprising 608 families totaling some 2307 persons — declared:
“We are determined to go to Eretz Israel, build our homes and raise our children as proud Jews in the homeland of our ancestors who lived in the very some places where we’re going to settle.”
The representatives stated that in accordance with Israeli government decisions to rapidly increase the Jewish population on the West Bank, the American immigrants are participating in the planning, design and construction of the new communities. Some of the families are already, in Israel, with the bulk stated to immigrate in 1981 as their housing is completed.
The locations are Moale Adumim, six miles east of Jerusalem; Matityahu in the western foothills of Samaria; Efrat, Tekoah and Rosh Tzurim, all in the Etzion Bloc 10 mites south of Jerusalem; and in Kiryat Arbd, adjacent to Hebron.
AREA ROOTED IN JEWISH TRADITION
“Our response to President Carter’s sellout of Israel is not mere words of protest, but concrete, positive action to strengthen Israel’s presence in Judaea and Samaria,” stated one of the spokesmen, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, of Manhattan’s Lincoln Square Synagogue.
“Judaea and Samaria are rooted in Jewish tradition. Abraham, the first Jew, walked in Hebron,” he said. “This is the land where the sacrifice of Isaac his only son was to take place the land where David, King of Israel, tended his sheep; where the Matriarch Rachel is buried.
Jews have constantly lived in Judaea and Sampria and have yearned for Jewish national sovereignty …. The settlements were bought with Jewish money; built with Jewish sweat; protected by Jewish blood.”
Riskin’s group, which has registered 230 families to immigrate to the new town of Efrat, will join 110 families from South Africa and 750 Israeli families in settling together. Israel government plans call for an eventual 5000 families on’ the site, not for from Bethlehem.
Another of the leaders, Sarah Cralmer, of the American Mizrachi-affiliated group of 85 families headed for Maale Adumim, stated that the new town “will help maintain Jerusalem as a united city with a large Jewish majority — the etemal capital at Israel. Our homes will literally form the eastern bulwark of the city, a link in the continuous chain of new neighborhoods and satellite towns which is rapidly being built around the north, east and south sides of Jerusalem.”
Jim Bennett, a spokesman for the Israel Aliya Center which organizes the immigration of American and Canadian Jews, commented that the aliya centers “are giving full assistance to the settlement groups recruiting efforts.”
“We are encouraging ‘group aliya’ by American Jews to all parts of Israel, including sites in Judaea and Samaria which our government has approved for settlement,” said Bennett, a former American who resides in Israel.
Sidney Greenwald, chairman of the Or Hashalom (Light of Peace) group, which is also settling in Maale Adumim, stated on behalf of his 253-family organization that “I am convinced that there are literally thousands more across the country who are interested in settling in Judaca and Somalia.”
NEW TREND IN IMMIGRATION
The seven groups represent a new trend in immigration to Israel, the spokespersons noted. They said they are convinced that large groups of families who organize and plan their immigration together, stand a far better chance of succeeding in Israel, where the high cost of living and spiraling inflation make adjustment hard for Americans.
“Our unity and strength as a group gives us the psychological boost that we’ll need to overcome the period of adjustment to a new way of life,” said David Stahl, who will settle in Tekooh. “In addition to the Jewish people’s 4000-year-old connection to these hills and valleys, we agree with Prime Minister (Menachem) Begin that our bringing large numbers of settlers here is vital to Israel’s security.”
Continuing, Stahl observed: “If this part of our land were to fall into the hands of a PLO-Soviet satellite state, it would no longer be safe for Israelis to live in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.