ZOA Praises KKL-JNF Approval to Purchase Privately-Owned Land in Judea/Samaria
News Press Release
February 15, 2021

ZOA Criticizes Far-Left Wing Biden Admin, Far-Left Wing URJ (Reform Movement)’s Rick Jacobs, and Far-Left Wing “Americans for Peace Now,” for Opposing Jews Purchasing Land in the Jewish Homeland While Arabs Illegally Build There

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:

ZOA strongly praises the Executive Committee of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) for voting yesterday to approve a plan to purchase privately-owned land in and adjacent to existing Jewish communities (“settlements”) in Area C (the part of Judea/Samaria controlled by Israel, in which approximately 500,000 Jews live). This plan, if eventually approved by the entire KKL-JNF Board, will reverse a longstanding, discriminatory general policy imposed by American far-left wing, extremist organizations on the KKL-JNF Board, of avoiding purchasing land past the artificial 1949 Armistice Lines. 

The plan approved by the KKL-JNF Executive Committee yesterday is thus an important step forward, even though it is a limited plan that unfortunately does not include buying land to establish lawful new Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria. Judea/Samaria is historic Jewish land. It is where key Biblical events took place and Jewish kingdoms existed, and is guaranteed for “close Jewish settlement” and the Jewish homeland under binding international law

In light of yesterday’s step forward, the ZOA wishes to thank the thousands of Jewish voters who voted for the ZOA Coalition in the 2020 World Zionist Congress elections. The World Zionist Congress helps appoint KKL-JNF Executive Committee and Board members. A key issue in the World Zionist Congress election was the need for Israel’s national institutions (such as KKL-JNF) to support Jewish people’s rights to live in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.

Thus, your votes for the ZOA Coalition helped make yesterday’s approval possible, and will help assure approval by the full KKL-JNF Board. Due to the ZOA Coalition’s excellent showing in the World Zionist Congress elections, the following five ZOA Coalition members are on the full KKL-JNF Board and will be able to vote to confirm this excellent new KKL-JNF plan: Mark Levenson, Esq. (ZOA Chair); Rabbi Steven Burg (Aish HaTorah CEO); Liz Berney, Esq. (ZOA Director of Special Projects); Valeria Chazin (Students Supporting Israel President); and Anna Peckerman (Russian Coalition of the ZOA Coalition). (See ZOA Coalition Key Factor in Historic Center-Right Victories at World Zionist Congress,” Oct. 23, 2020; “Right Wing ZOA Coalition & Orthodox Win Majority of Delegates in World Zionist Congress,” Mar. 25, 2020.) 

The Immoral, Deplorable, Erroneous URJ, APN, and Biden Administration Responses: ZOA strongly criticizes far-left wing URJ (Reform movement) President Rick Jacobs’ and far-left wing Americans for Peace Now (APN)’s despicable statements condemning the KKL-JNF plan.

APN ludicrously accused the KKL-JNF plan of being “anti-democratic” and “anti-peace,” when in fact, the plan is the result of a democratic election, and will help all of Israel live in peace.

URJ’s Rick Jacobs outrageously, absurdly, and inaccurately said that KKL-JNF’s limited plan to buy land in the Jewish homeland “undermines” Israel’s “safety, security, and moral character.” 

In fact, strong Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria are absolutely essential for Israel’s security and for Israel’s entire population to live in peace. As the “Protectors of Israel” (HaBithonistim) movement of over 1,700 Israeli defense and security commanders and officials recently wrote: “the application of Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley [is] critical to enable [Israel] to defend itself by itself.”

It is also immoral, discriminatory, racist, and antisemitic to restrict where Jews and Jewish organizations can buy land. And it is also immoral and discriminatory to stop typically-absentee Arab landowners from selling their land claims, at a handsome profit.

URJ/Rick Jacobs’ and APN’s statements also help hostile-to-Israel Biden appointees carry out their hostile-to-Israel agendas.

U.S. State Dept. Outrageously/Immorally Equates Palestinian Regime Paying Arabs to Murder Jews with Jews Building Homes in Judea/Samaria: Thus, on February 11, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price used a question about the then-upcoming KKL-JNF Executive Committee vote to state a “broad point” immorally equating “settlement activity,” meaning Jews living in or building homes in Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, to Palestinian incitement to violence against Jews and “pay to slay” payments rewarding and incentivizing Arabs to murder Jews.

As JNS Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin wrote: “As with so much of the misleading terminology that is used about this subject, opponents of Israel, as well as some who claim to be friends—like those currently in charge of the State Department—often speak of “settlement-building” when what they are really opposing is building homes in existing communities and parts of Jerusalem. There have been virtually no new settlements built in nearly 30 years. The Jerusalem neighborhoods the Palestinians would like to throw the Jews out of were built nearly 50 years ago. The West Bank [Judea/Samaria] settlements were all built in the 1970s, 1980s, and early ’90s.

“The JNF’s land purchases will also be purely voluntary. It isn’t stealing land now any more than it did so 100 years ago during the early days of [KKL-JNF’s] operations. The idea that Western liberals tolerate or even support the Palestinian belief that selling land to Jews is a death penalty offense for Arabs is outrageous and rooted in prejudice.” (“Don’t Stop JNF From Doing its Job,” by Jonathan Tobin, Feb. 12, 2021.)

ZOA reiterates that it is deplorable and deeply immoral and discriminatory and racist and antisemitic to restrict where Jews and Jewish organizations can buy land. Jews and Jewish organizations have the moral, legal, historical, and religious right and need to buy land in the Jewish homeland.

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