Last week, I had the pleasure and honor of hosting visiting VIPs from three different continents on Educational tours in the Shomron. One of those special visits was with Bishop Scott Mwanza and his wife Lilian from Zambia in Africa. During the day, we visited the massive archeological dig at Ancient Shilo, met with workers and directors of factories in the Barkan Industrial Park, met with elected official at the Shomron Regional Municipal Government offices, visited with the Samaritan High Priest on Mount Gerezim and enjoyed amazing wine and a fine meal at the Mount Blessing Winery at Har Bracha.
Below is a summary of a report on the visit that appeared in Hebrew language 0404 news.
African Bishop Scott Mwanza: “There is no apartheid in Israel, and what is happening in Samaria can not be compared to Africa”.
Bishop Scott Mwanza, from Zambia, came on a tour of Samaria. Hosted by a joint effort of Shomron Regional Council Department of International Relations and the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy.
He met with Shomron Regional Council Chairman, Mr. Yossi Dagan, and with his Deputy Mr. Davidi Ben-Zion, they visited the factories in the Barkan Industrial park where he was exposed to coexistence in the area, visited the Tura winery and Mount Gerezim, and in the evening he address the Executive Members of the Regional Council. The directors were blown away by his words.
After visiting factories in the Barkan industrial park and seeing the reality for himself, he made clear remarks about accusations of “apartheid” policies in Israel in general and Samaria and Judea in particular.
“What I saw on this tour in Samaria proved to me in practice that there is no apartheid in Israel, there is a lot of coexistence, there is no apartheid in the communities that exist here,” he said.
He added with regard to BDS and the attempt to boycott the industry in Judea and Samaria:
“The BDS program is inhuman because it is inappropriate because when you ask people to boycott the industry that provides them, Palestinians and Israelis with a livelihood, food, life, and a solution for people. What are you trying to do? Why boycott the hand that feeds you, why boycott something that gives you a solution?” He asked.
Yossi Dagan, Shomron Council Chairman, who met with Mwanza, said: “Day after day leaders from all over the world come here to be part of the great thing that is happening here: the return of the Jewish people to its land. Leading public opinion from around the world, and explaining Israel in general and Samaria in particular. ”
During the meeting with members of the Chamber of Council, Bishop Mwanza surprised the audience by referring directly to the issue of settlements in Judea and Samaria. He said, “What does ‘settlements’ mean? How can you talk about illegal settlement in the land that is yours? I passed Route 60 and the history is there. I know that this is where Abraham came from Haran, this is the way to Shekhem, to Shilo, to the altar of Joshua. So how can you be a settler in the land that is already yours? It is unreasonable. “He added,” This is your land. No one has the right to transfer you from here. You are the owner of the land and you must fight for it. We will support you and stand by you, because this land belongs to Abraham’s sons. ” And behold, from the place where thou shalt lie, and be watered, and go up, and go up, and go up: for all the land which thou hast seen for me shall I give to thy seed.
Bishop Mwanza is a Faith Leader of Zambia, who heads a large prayer organization in contact with millions of Africans. His church is part of a network of churches spread out in 5 different countries in Africa and has influence on national political leadership in Zambia and other parliaments.