The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised Gidon Saar, the Israeli minister of education and second to the prime minister in the Likud Party, for opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state as a grave danger; supporting the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria; and promoting the importance of on site biblical-historical education in Israel. While visiting Ariel, unofficial capital of Samaria, and the archaeological dig of Tel Shiloh which was the site of the Tabernacle for 369 years, and again during a meeting in the community of Shiloh itself, Minister Saar publicly affirmed the eternal Jewish connection to these places and throughout Judea and Samaria. “Jews will always be in Shiloh,” Minister Saar said emphatically. “We should not delude the Arabs that one day there will be no Jews here. Jews will always be here, and any other illusion will bring obstacles on the road to peace.” Minister Saar stressed the importance of bringing students from all parts of Israel to locations such as Shiloh and Hebron. The ZOA strongly supports his expanding program of field trips, which he hopes will enhance appreciation for the Israeli nations history and the strong connection of the Jewish people to the land. The ZOA praised Minister Saar for using the occasion of his solidarity visit to appropriately criticize the drive to create a Palestinian state, stating such a state would be a dangerous move and would “never bring peace,” especially in light of the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Israel activities on the world stage and at home. In fact, according to a very recent American Jewish Committee poll most American Jews agree with Saar by a 55% – 38% margin [ http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=846741&ct=11229303
]The ZOA agrees with Minister Saar’s contention that the threat to Israel has been worsened today by the regional ascendancy of militant Islamists, who could inflict even greater harm on Israel if an inevitably hostile Palestinian entity were to join their radical cause.
ZOA President Morton Klein stated, “We strongly support and praise Minister Gidon Saar for forthrightly stating the truth that a Palestinian state would be a grave danger to Israel and discussions about alternatives should begin immediately in a serious manner.” ZOA Israel Director Jeff Daube, who attended a meeting in a private Shiloh home with Minister Saar, praised him for his candor and called upon other members of the government to make similar pronouncements: It is essential for Israeli leadership to inform the public about the underreported, growing threat resulting from PA delegitimization and demonization of Israel. While we cannot take our eye off a nuclear-armed Iran, we also must focus on the time bomb in the making on the hatred-armed Palestinian street. Daube added,”I know from a previous conversation with Minister Saar that he has been listening to the drumbeat of anti-Israel incitement for some time, especially as it shapes the attitudes of Palestinian youth. The education minister understands well how a poisonous worldview is imparted and a taste for violence is inculcated through popular media, textbooks, classroom instruction and summer camp activities. This has been a concern of the ZOA as well, which we have been communicating to leadership here in Israel and in the U.S. for nearly two decades since the Oslo signings.