JUDEA & SAMARIA
Judea and Samaria (יְהוּדָה וְשׁוֹמְרוֹן) is the Biblical homeland of the ancient Kingdom of Israel located along the eastern border of the modern Israeli state. For thousands of years, a thriving Jewish presence existed in the region alongside Arab and Christian communities, all whom lived and worshiped in the name of peace, prosperity and coexistence.
In 1922, the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) adopted the Mandate for Palestine, which recognized the legitimate historical claims of the Jewish people to the region as part of the reconstitution and establishment of their national homeland. Following the announcement of the Mandate, Jews were forcibly removed or slaughtered by surrounding Arab communities and Arab state armies. The violence culminated in the Hebron Massacre of 1929 in which 67 Jews were killed in Judaism's second holiest city, resulting in the near complete extinction of this ancient Jewish community where the Tomb of their Matriarchs and Patriarchs is located to this day.
On May 14, 1948, following the War of Independence, the Jewish people declared the establishment of the State of Israel, fulfilling the promise of their return to their Biblical homeland and securing a future for all those in the Diaspora who sought refuge in, or wished to contribute to, the building of a modern Jewish state among the international community of nations.
Despite recognition of the Judea and Samaria's legal status as constituting a critical part of the now established Jewish state, the Kingdom of Jordan illegally invaded and asserted sovereignty over the region, which it referred to as the "West Bank" (i.e. west of the Bank of the Jordan River). Between the years of 1948 to 1967, Jewish land ownership was invalidated and the sale of land to Jews was deemed a capital offense. These laws were never recognized as legitimate by the international community.
In 1967, Israel regained control of the region in the Six Day War, and reasserted Israeli sovereignty over its ancient homeland, repopulating the area and establishing new communities in the precise locations where Jewish communities had previously existed for generations. Today, these Israeli cities - often referred to as "settlements" - serve as a sincere expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and abiding connection to the land of Israel, the undeniable cradle of Jewish civilization, and the geographical center of the stories of the Torah (or Hebrew Bible).
As of 2020, over 450,000 Jews - a number which is growing daily - live and work in Judea and Samaria, and include secular, religious, immigrant and sabra (native) Israelis. These diverse communities have developed their ancient homeland into a modern and inclusive society consisting of towns and cities where entrepreneurship, dignity of work, gender equality, freedom of faith, and respect for human rights thrives. Living side by side with their Arab neighbors, the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are on the forefront of establishing a lasting peace each and every day through a range of collaborative and innovative efforts, both large and small.