No matter what the United Nations, the White House, the Histadrut or T-Mobile says, my family and I proudly and happily live in the land of Israel and no one is taking that away from us.
This past Shabbat I hosted a former student who is spending a gap year studying in a Jerusalem yeshiva. In a cost cutting move his parents kept him on their T-Mobile plan for all data services and got him a “dumb-phone” for making phone calls. As my student and my other guests arrived on Friday afternoon we sat on my spacious porch overlooking Eastern Israel, Jericho, the Jordan River and the Jordanian Mountains (my view is truly spectacular). As he checked his two phones for messages he noticed that his T-Mobile phone said that he was in Jordan, and roaming charges – really expensive ones – would apply to any texting or phone calls made.
I do not live in Jordan. This past summer my family and I moved from Boca Raton, Florida and made aliyah to Mitzpe Yericho, Israel. We live in a small Yishuv which I am convinced is the most beautiful place on Earth. Mitzpe Yericho is located in the Yehuda section of Israel, on the Western Bank of the Jordan River. My Yishuv is decorated with hundreds of Israeli flags, the Israeli army patrols it and Israeli law governs it. I am an Israeli citizen and I happily pay Israeli taxes.
So why does T-Mobile think I live in Jordan? Thier position is less political and probably just a reflection of the nearest cell tower they use to relay service, but others have more complex opinions as to my true geography. The United Nations considers “settlers” like me occupiers and living on illegally seized land. Every American administration, Republican and Democrat, has agreed that I have no right to live where I live and that my Yishuv’s final status must be negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. Even when purchasing my home, the Israeli government, under the auspices of the Hishtadrut, informed me that I wasn’t buying land in Israel, but in land administered by the Israeli army. It seems that I don’t live in the State of Israel. This had the unfortunate effect of raising my mortgage down payment.
More than three thousand years ago the Jews stood on the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River and looked out upon their new homeland. The land they beheld is my current Yishuv. The Jews crossed that river and have lived continuously on this land ever since. This was thousands of years before there was an Islam or Arab settlers who occupied our land. Even throughout our exile we constantly begged God to let us come back, and today we’re witness to our prayers having been answered. The land of Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea has always been considered the Jewish homeland. When did the in
ternational community, and worse, some of Jewish people, decide that we no longer have claim to this land?
If you are wont to validate the current Palestinian Authorities’ claim on the West Bank, what is properly called Yehudah and the Shomron, you’d have to ignore the Jewish claim to the land to simply declare it Palestinian land a truly intellectually dishonest position. Rather, this land would have a status of sui generis, meaning legally unique in that no other real estate in the world shares its status. This land is disputed and no outside authority, whether it be Sweden or the United Nations Security Council can declare its final status. This land’s standing needs to be negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
Living in the land of Israel has been a dream of our people for thousands of years. My grandparents sitting in Auschwitz could only have dreamed of living in Israel. My family and I spent ten years dreaming, calculating and planning on returning to this glorious land. This past summer we were blessed to return and move to Israel. We love every moment of being here.
Even if some future Israeli government decides to hand over my Yishuv and its surrounding communities to the Palestinian Authority, it is incorrect to claim that the land is not part of the Land of Israel. So no matter what any cell phone company charges my guests or what any UN official might resolve, I proudly live in the Land of Israel and I hope to be here for the rest of my life.