Ma’ale Adumim was the starting point for a massive march by 10,000-15,000 Israelis demanding construction in Judea and Samaria.
More than 10,000 demonstrators – including Israeli ministers and parliamentarians – marched from Ma’ale Adumim through E-1, calling upon the Israeli government to build in Judea and Samaria and to withstand pressure to give away land for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Jewish homeland.
E-1, which stands for East 1 – the Hebrew name is Mevasseret Adumim – is located adjacent to and northeast of Jerusalem, covering an area of 12 square kilometers (4.6 square miles). It links Ma’ale Adumim – a city with a population of 40,000, located approximately three miles east of Jerusalem – to the Israeli capital. Initially approved plans for construction on the empty land have been frozen for several years due to international pressure.
The event included busloads of people from across the country. There were at least hundreds more who drove in private vehicles to Ma’ale Adumim but were unable to join the march, as the city gates were closed at a certain point for security reasons.
MA’ALE ADUMIM MAYOR: ALL ARE WELCOME HERE
Ma’ale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said that young couples who grew up in the city should not be forced to move elsewhere for lack of housing.
“We have elderly and young, religious and secular. All are welcome here,” he said.
“We know from experience that the more we cave in, the worse it gets,” Housing Minister Uri Ariel stated. “There are those who believe that if they follow the dictates of the rest of the world, we will have peace and quiet.”
But the results tell a different story, he added, pointing to the constant firing of missiles at southern Israeli cities since the pullout from Gaza in 2005.
“As housing minister, I am telling the prime minister that we are here to ensure that you keep your promise to build here,” Ariel added, reminding the crowd that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu had “stood on this exact spot” and said that the land connecting Ma’ale Adumim to Mevasseret Adumim must be developed.
Other speakers also echoed Netanyahu’s on-the-record commitment to build in “our land.”
“We will not go back to the Auschwitz borders,” stated Member of Knesset Ze’ev Elkin. The government’s “obligation is not to the nations of the world, but to the citizens of Israel who voted you in….
“The important message of today is: The nation [of Israel] wants to build. We want to build in Ma’ale Adumim and in other areas in Judea and Samaria and to extend Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel.”
Despite difficulties along the way,” he said, “we will win because our cause is just.”
Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron, called for an immediate declaration of Israeli sovereignty in all of Judea and Samaria. Slamming the term “Israeli occupation,” he affirmed that Judea and Samaria belongs to the Jewish people, and “this is the Torah’s [Bible’s] point of view.”
Rabbi Chaim Steiner, a scholar and leader in the Religious Zionist movement, said he was encouraged to see such a huge turnout among the youth, which “demonstrates that the Bloc of the Faithful movement [to settle the Land of Israel] is still alive.”
“Just as Netanyahu, in his first term, built in Har Homa [a neighborhood in east Jerusalem] and there are now 6,000 housing units and children’s nurseries there, here too we will build thousands of homes,” Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon asserted
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir [Likud Beyteinu], son of former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Shamir, told the assembled: “We are with you.”
“The reason I am in politics is to be doing exactly this,” he said. “We will not lose faith in the justice of our path, and only with faith will we be able to complete our vision.”
“We marched today and we will march tomorrow,” declared Daniella Weiss, a main organizer of the demonstration and former mayor of the city of Kedumim, located in Samaria.
Thousands upon thousands of youth marched with Israeli flags, passionately chanting patriotic songs – including, for example, one based on the biblical verse where, in the region of Judea and Samaria, God tells Abraham: “To your descendants I will give this land.” [Genesis 15:18]
“This stream of people will become a large river in the coming months,” Weiss proclaimed. “We call upon young, idealistic people to join settlement groups that we will soon be establishing. We plan on settling the Land of Israel until every hill blossoms.”
Atara Beck, Senior Writer, United with Israel