The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States, was founded in 1897. Its presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise. ZOA is also a charter, founding member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Recently, ZOA President Morton Klein and others met with Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich. Minister Smotrich is also a minister in Israel’s Defense Ministry and is the Chair of Israel’s popular Religious Zionism party. The meeting took place at an undisclosed venue.
Minister Smotrich was born in Haspin in the Golan Heights and grew up in Beit El in the Judean Hills (the site of Jacob’s famous dream). He attended the prestigious HaRav Kook Yeshiva, obtained his law degree, and took graduate law studies at Hebrew University. While serving in the IDF, he was Secretary of Operations in the Division of the General Staff.
Minister Smotrich has been a member of the Israeli Knesset since 2015 and served as Israel’s Minister of Transportation in 2019-20. He was widely recognized and praised as an outstanding transportation minister. He is also a co-founder of Regavim, an organization dedicated to protecting Israel’s public lands that monitors the massive, EU-funded illegal construction by Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Minister Smotrich also successfully sponsored important legislation to bar dangerous BDS activists from entering Israel.
The ZOA is among several prominent Jewish organizations, including Israel Bonds and the Orthodox Union, that invited Minister Smotrich. Morton Klein and others discussed important issues facing Israel with the Minister. These include judicial reform; the law of return, which permits automatic Israeli citizenship if one has only one Jewish grandparent and is reducing the Jewish majority in Israel and must be eliminated; Jewish education in Israel; the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount; the rights of Jews to live in Judea/Samaria; Palestinian Arabs illegally building in Area C; Arab terrorists dramatically increasing murders and maiming of innocent Jews; the Palestinian Authority’s payments of lifetime pensions to Arab terrorists to murder Jews and Americans and other Palestinian Arab incitement to hatred and murder of Jews; and the increasing Iranian threat, including Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 84% purity – almost weapons grade. Morton Klein also discussed the dangers of establishing a terrorist dictatorship state in Judea/Samaria, which would likely be controlled by Hamas and Iran.