Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Ariel Foundation Report on the Visit of Five US Congressmen

The Inaugural Samaria Summit

SAMARIA, ISRAEL – On November 9th, five Congressmen ventured into otherwise uncharted "territory" by traditional diplomatic delegations to Israel. A strong affinity to Israel and genuine frustration with the repetitive and fatal failures of peace plans and processes drove these American leaders to take a fresh look and Israel's heartland.

The historic visit began with a bus tour led by Mayor Ron Nachman along the Trans-Samaria highway, where the delegates learned about Israel's narrow waist-line, security needs and strategic provisions. At the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks Mayor Nachman discussed co-existence...Mayor Nachman also showed the group the layout of the Ariel Bloc of communities, and the short distance from the Tel Aviv Coastal Plain...the group proceeded to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts, where they enjoyed a private performance by Ariel's young singers and internationally renowned dancers.

...Rep. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th) addressed the Summit by stating his unwavering support for Israel's peace and security. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5th) discussed Israel's inherent value and the commitment of the Congressional Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus which he co-chairs. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), who is known for his instrumental role in arranging for Prime Minister to deliver his acclaimed speech to both houses of Congress in May, 2011, explained how Israel cannot sacrifice its own security by relinquishing land to those who are committed to its destruction. They were joined by Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-4th) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th), who shared the sentiments of their colleagues. They were accompanied by Ruth Lieberman and Enia Krivine of the International Israel Allies Caucus during their stay in Israel.

The travels through Samaria included a stop at Joseph's Tomb Overlook...[David] Ha'Ivri introduced the delegates to Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. The congressmen were pleasantly surprised to discover that Rabbi Melamed had recently publicized an article which encourages Israelis to be welcoming rather than suspicious of Christians who choose to support Israel. The group then proceeded to the vineyards in the community of Har Bracha, where they met with the Director of the Samaria Regional Council Gershon Mesika. Tommy Waller and the Christian volunteers from across the US who accompany him in the fields of Samaria greeted the group with some of their original music.

Next was a visit to the site of the Tabernacle in Shiloh where the delegation was guided by Eve Harow. They then proceeded to dinner at the Psagot Winery. Yesha Council CEO Naftali Bennet delivered concluding remarks following the previous day's visit to Gush Etzion and their short stay in Samaria...

The 2011 Congressional Initiative was arranged by our dear friend Heather Johnston of the JH Ranch and the Ariel National leadership Development Center, who identified the need for America's leading Congressmen to become familiar with Judea and Samaria and develop ties with Members of Knesset. Each of the delegates was thoroughly appreciative of this groundbreaking educational experience.

My post at the time.

Report of the Jerusalem Post.


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