The Coalition for Jewish Values, representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, today sent a letter to Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, commending him for “rejecting outright the false notion that Israeli settlements in the area known as the West Bank are ‘illegal.'” In a press conference earlier today, Mr. Pompeo announced the abandonment of an Obama-era change which upended the United States’ position since the Reagan presidency.

“In 1967, Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of State, Eugene Rostow, adopted the same position,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Eastern Regional Vice President of the CJV. “This is a return to reality, and recognition that Jews returning to the Jewish homeland cannot legitimately called occupiers, or their homes illegal. This historic decision can help remake the Middle East in ways that will benefit the entire region.”

In its letter, the CJV notes that Jewish settlement in Judea “accords with the Bible itself and the historical reality.” Contrary to a false narrative implying that Jews somehow voluntarily abandoned the Land of Israel in favor of others, the letter points out that “Jews lived in the holy cities of Hebron and Shechem (Nablus), as well as elsewhere in the area, at all times when not forced to leave at the tip of a sword.” And this being the case, the CJV concludes that the return of Jewish settlement in that area is simply “the resumption of Jewish life in that part of the Jewish homeland.”

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