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Op-Ed: AIPAC’s Kohr is Wrong—The Biblical Heartland is Israel’s FutureDavid Rubin explains that AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr does not understand that a Palestinian state would be “national suicide” for Israel and mean giving terrorists the lands to which the Jewish people are most connected.
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Israel has been developing bilateral relationships with more and more countries, even Muslim-majority countries, diminishing its once acute isolation. US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem Israel’s eternal capital and announced he will move the US embassy to this capital by May 14.
However, while Israel is buddying up with international partners and the White House, the disconnect between Israel and US Jews – even those supportive of Israel – is becoming increasingly large and alarming.
Case in point: last week, AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr, speaking at the organization’s 2018 conference, urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table and secure an agreement paving the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples,” said Kohr. “One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future. Today that dream seems remote. This is tragic.”
Not only did Kohr reveal his political bias in these statements, but also his political and biblical ignorance. In Kohr’s description, Israel is less secure and more vulnerable if it fails to establish a Palestinian state.
Despite being the head of America’s largest pro-Israel lobby, Kohr does not understand how destructive such a state would be for Israel today – or anytime soon.
A Palestinian state means giving Hamas, Fatah, and the terror-supporting Palestinian Authority control of the Samarian mountains, which overlook Ben-Gurion International Airport. It means creating a nine-miles-wide bottleneck at the center of Israel, ruled by people who last year spent nearly $350 million to support terrorists. Such a surrender would be national suicide.
In the 24 years since the Oslo Accords were signed, Israel has been ambushed by three Intifadas and massive individual attacks against civilians – men, women and children alike.
Further, Kohr is a Jew. Yet he failed to acknowledge that the areas he is discussing turning over to the terrorists are the lands to which the Jewish people are most connected, according to the Bible. Judea and Samaria are Israel’s biblical heartland. It was ancient Shiloh that served as the capital of the Jewish people for 369 years, before King David moved his capital to Jerusalem. It is in Hebron where our forefathers –Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–are buried, and most of the foremothers–Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah.
It was only a few weeks ago that excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount may have unearthed the seal impression of the prophet Isaiah, who advised King Hezekiah in the Kingdom of Judah during the eighth century BCE.
Israel is our Jewish homeland and where the Bible comes to life. We do not need a Palestinian state, just the opposite. We need to declare Israeli sovereignty over all the lands currently in our possession. Then Israel should open the free market and allow Jews to build homes and schools in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
The future of Israel is in the biblical heartland.
Of course, if there are Palestinians who sincerely want to become citizens of Israel, the Jewish state should embrace them. But this path to citizenship should be a long educational process and should include a requirement of national service and an oath of loyalty to Israel.
Terrorists, on the other hand, should be deported – period.
Sorry, Mr. Kohr. You may be the head of AIPAC, but you don’t have a right to speak for the citizens of Israel until you are one.
Those of us who live in the Jewish homeland, send our children to the army, and pay taxes – both financial and with our hearts and souls to protect this land – will make our own decisions about what is best for the State of Israel. And just like our Prime Minister and the President of the United States, most of us understand and believe that a united Jerusalem and our biblical heartland are critical for the safety, security and success of the State of Israel.
David Rubin is the author of several books on Israel, the founder of the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund and a former mayor of Shiloh.