The Binyamin Regional Council together with the Yes! Israel Project held the first-ever virtual Israel mission strengthening the strategic ties between Israel and the United States of America. Even though they were not able to greet the Congressmen at the Ben-Gurion airport upon physical arrival, Governor of the Binyamin Region Israel Ganz welcomed Congressmen Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Bill Johnson, Doug Lamborn, Barry Moore and others via zoom. Today’s first talk and discussion was with Nir Barkat, Likud politician and former Mayor of Jerusalem.
Mr. Barkat spoke to the Congressmen about the Israeli-American relationship in general. Specifically, regarding the challenges that Isreal and the free world are facing today in the world, specifically Russia, China and Iran. Especially pointing out the threats Israel has from Iran, the nuclear threat as well as the conventional threat.
Mr. Barkat said that Israel “should not have stayed neutral on Ukraine” since it is a battle against the whole free world upon which Israel is a part of.
Mr. Barkat tied in the Western world’s sanctions against Russia with the struggle against a nuclear Iran. “You can’t put sanctions on a bully like Russia with its aggressiveness and take off sanctions from Iran. They are using brute force to seek a nuclear bomb and unfortunately, they are the only country in the world that wants a bomb in order to use it. It’s not for defense purposes they want a bomb, it’s to eliminate Israel off the map. We will not allow another holocaust. You can not lift sanctions from Iran and place sanctions on Russia.”
Mr. Barkat proposed that the Western world deal with Iran and its proxies as it once dealt with Russia and its proxies. Just like President Kennedy threatened to bomb Moscow if missiles were fired at US cities from Cuba, so too “any attack on Israel by (Iranian) proxies is not going to be the third Lebanese war, it’s going to be the first Iran war and we attack Tehran. We are not letting them off the hook.”
Finally, Mr. Barkat shared with the Congressman his new and different vision for peace, which is “different than the two-state solution, better than the two-state solution and acceptable by the majority of the Israelis.” He proposed the emirate’s model promoted by Middle East and Islam expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar.
Dr. Kedar’s model is based on understanding that there are multiple Arab tribes that live in Judea and Samaira and each Tribe would have civil autonomy that would work in collaboration and cooperation with their Israeli peers living side by side with them”. Not a state but civil autonomy for each Tribe.
In response to a comment from Congressman Louis Gohmert about his mutual concern regarding the Iran nuclear talks and his positive feedback about Barkat’s new emirates plan instead of the two-state solution, Mr. Barkat responded by thanking Congressman Gohmert for his great support for Israel.
In response to a question from Congressman Doug Lamborn about special weapons systems to shoot drones and rockets, Mr. Barkat spoke about a number of confidential defense projects that Israel is working on. Mr. Barkat also thanked the Congressman for all his efforts on pushing forward joint US-Israel defense projects to help keep Israel safe.
In response to a question from Congressman Bill Johnson about the tone of the people of Israel regarding the two-state solution, Mr. Barkat responded that “70% of the Israeli population, including the center and right of center, do not see the feasibility of the two-state solution. The emirates model is a model that can work and have 70% approval from the Israeli population. It is a much, much better alternative to the two-state solution which is a security threat and the one-state solution which is a demographic risk.”
The Binyamin Regional Council and the Yes! Israel project look forward to the continuation of zoom events together with the participating Congressmen and their staff. Some of the upcoming events include a zoom with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a virtual tour of an archeological Hasmonean Palace in Jericho.