In light of the fact that the Jewish people and individuals of faith from many religions see the entire land of Israel as largely significant in the context of the history of mankind and for the future of the human race, the areas of Israel known as Judea and Samaria have a history and a significance that set it apart from the rest of Israel. There are a number of reasons that the regions of Judea and Samaria are significant to the Jewish people and pro-Israel advocates. In particular, let’s explore some of the reasons for the large impact that the regions of Judea and Samaria have had on religious belief in general and the birth of the Jewish people all the way through to the international politics of today.
The History of the Jewish People (and Monotheism) is Tied to the Regions Judea and Samaria
- The city of Hebron (Judea), which is the location of the Cave of the Patriarchs is the site of the resting place and burial of Adam (the first man), Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The book of Genesis records the purchase of the plot of land in Hebron by Abraham. Abraham purchased the plot of land known today as the Cave of the Patriarchs, for the purpose of burying his beloved wife Sarah, after she had passed. Abraham is traditionally known as the first to discard polytheism and embrace monotheism, resulting in future monotheistic religions.
- Judea and Samaria were the first areas that all the forefathers of the Jewish people lived in and traveled (within the land of Israel), as recorded in Genesis. Some examples of the explicit references to the places inhabited and traveled by our forefathers are: A. Shechem/Nablus (Samaria): Shechem was the first place in Israel that Abraham came to after leaving Haran (a city near ancient Mesopatamia), his birthplace. Shechem would also be the home of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, many years later. It was in Shechem that the sons of Jacob instilled fear in the local and surrounding inhabitants, after Dina, daughter of Jacob, was defiled by the ruler of Shechem. As a result of the defilement of Dina, her brother’s avenged her and her honor by wiping out the inhabitants of the city (Source: The book of Genesis). B. Beit El (Judea): Abraham brought his first sacrifices to G-d in a place East of Beit El. Abraham would later return to this mountain East of Beit El and dwell there (Source: The book of Genesis). C. Hebron (Judea): Abraham lived in Elonei Mamrei, a part of Hebron. While living there, Abraham received a prophecy from G-d that one day his children would inherit the land of Israel. (Source: The book of Genesis)
- The Jewish people, as a nation, first entered Israel and arrived in Gilgal (Samaria). (Source: The book of Joshua)
- The Tabernacle had its first permanent home in the city of Shiloh (Samaria). The Tabernacle was a house of worship and was the one place that holy sacrifices were permitted to be brought to G-d (before the Jerusalem Temple replaced the Tabernacle). (Source: The book of Joshua)
- Judea and Samaria contained the capitals of the biblical kingdoms of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel, respectively. The monarchy of David was split during the reign of Rehabam, son of Solomon. The kingdom of Judah (from the house of David) had its capital in Jerusalem and the new monarchy, started by King Jeroboam ben Nevat was to have its capital in Samaria a few generations later. (Source: The book of Kings)
The Future of Israel is Threatened by Those Who Wish to Deny the Ancestral Connection of Jews to Judea and Samaria
Today, the international community, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in particular seeks to refute the Jewish ancestral connection to the land of Israel. In Krakow, Poland on July 7th, 2017 UNESCO recognized the old city of Hebron (yes, the same place that all of the Jewish patriarchs are buried) as “a Palestinian world heritage site in danger.” In May, UNESCO passed a resolution indicating rejection of Israel’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem.
When combating this international anti-Israel sentiment, it is important to make our voices heard about the ridiculousness of denying the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response to the UNESCO decision on Jerusalem, “To say that Israel has no link to the Temple Mount is like saying that China has no link to the Great Wall or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids.”
The BDS Movement
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement also known as BDS, seeks to culturally and financially isolate Israel from the rest of the world. In particular, the BDS movement uses the pretext of the Israel’s “illegal occupation” of the “West Bank” to justify its cause. Those familiar with the movement, have seen some of the hypocrisy and blatant antisemitism that comes from the movement and its members (see our blog section on the news from the BDS movement). Of course, the movement does not mention that Israel only “occupied” these territories as a result of numerous defensive wars it fought with its enemies to protect Israeli citizens from the threat of those “territories;” a threat which simply would not and could not be dealt with otherwise. Unfortunately the movement has gained momentum in more liberal circles, among younger and misinformed college students and on college campuses in general, where a leftist and liberal agenda seems to be the preferred sentiment. In addition, there have been countries (not just in the middle east), that have shown their support for the BDS agenda and its activities.
When combating this anti-Israel movement, it is important to be loud about our support for Israel, it’s right to defend itself and the Jewish history and character which is an undeniable facet of the land. Only then can we hope to silence the bias and misinformation that is the cornerstone of the BDS movement.
G-d Blesses Those Who Bless Israel (Genesis 12:2-3)
When considering the significance of Judea and Samaria and why to purchase products from there, it would be inappropriate to leave out the promise which G-d made to Abraham on behalf of Abraham and his future children.
Before Abraham left his birth place to go to Israel, G-d encouraged him and gave him hope in the journey to the foreign land that he would soon be traveling toward. G-d reassured Abraham that his legacy would endure and that his progeny would be successful in making a positive impact on the world. It was in this vain, that G-d told Abraham, “And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great and it (your name) shall be for a blessing. And I shall bless those who bless you and I shall curse those who curse you. And through you shall be blessed all the families of the land.”
In conclusion, there is a lot of history and as a result a lot at stake for the nation of Israel when it comes to Judea and Samaria. Here, at Lev Haolam, we strive to create a strong connection between our partners and the pioneers of those areas, while teaching the historical significance of the past, present and future of Judea and Samaria. Today, it is incredibly important for the Jewish pioneers of Judea and Samaria to be able to rely on the support of the few and the brave that wish to see their success and growth. Consider showing your support for the pioneers of Judea and Samaria and for establishing a new connection between you and the pioneers, by subscribing to our Surprise Monthly Package Project.