Judea and Samaria is its only name

The recent National Religious Broadcasters convention literally rewrote the dialogue surrounding the conflict in the Middle East when they passed their “Biblical Heartland Resolution”.

“NRB opposes the use of the erroneous term ‘West Bank’ to describe the biblical heartland of Israel and calls on its members to refer to the region by its historic name of Judea and Samaria,” read a statement released by the organization.

The resolution will have a massive practical impact on how the media presents the Middle East conflict. National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is an international association of evangelical communicators with 141 million Americans using Christian media at least once per month.

The resolution called for the participating media to refer to the region in central Israel solely as Judea and Samaria for the simple reason that this was the terminology of the Bible and it was used throughout history.

“Words matter in how we control the conversation and the language,” said Troy Miller, president of the NRB, urging his constituents to reinforce the Jewish heritage of the land as recounted in the Bible.  “Younger Christians don’t understand that the West Bank is within the biblical boundaries of Israel,” he said.

“It’s time to step up and be honest about the definition of this land,” said Miller.

“People need to understand that language matters,” said Josh Reinstein, president of the Israel Allies Foundation. ”Language has been taken over and held hostage,” he said, adding, “Christians don’t understand that the West Bank, and Judea and Samaria, are the same place.”

The resolution emphasized the Biblical relevance of Judea and Samaria.

“Judea and Samaria are the Biblical heartland of Israel which includes sites such as Hebron, Bethel, Shiloh and Shechem, along with many other places with rich biblical heritage;’ the NRB resolution stated. The Scripture foretells both the exile and return of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria (Jeremiah 31).”

The resolution noted that the terms Judea and Samaria also play a prominent role in the Christian Bible.

Antique Flooring from the time of the Second Temple period, found in the Israeli settlement of Shiloh. Shiloh, an ancient city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, was the capital of Israel before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem. March 30, 2014. Photo by Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90

“Jesus passed through Samaria when he returned from Jerusalem to the Galilee and the region of Samaria and its people are referenced in Jesus’s talk with the Samaritan woman at the well and the Parable of the Good Samaritan,” it stated, adding, “Jesus commissioned his disciples, calling the Biblical Heartland by its historic and biblical names, saying “… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b).”

This Biblical aspect of the resolution was emphasized by Rabbi Tuly Weisz, head of Israel365, who noted that about 70% of all the events related in the Bible take place in Judea and Samaria.

“I am grateful to NRB President and CEO Troy Miller for enthusiastically championing the Biblical Heartland Resolution,” Rabbi Weisz said. “More and more Americans are getting their news from Christian media outlets, so the passage of the Biblical Heartland Resolution will undoubtedly have a major impact on how Americans see Israel as a matter of faith, not mere politics.”

“The Biblical Heartland Resolution goes beyond terminology and gets to the beating heart of the narrative surrounding Israel’s outsized role in the world,” Rabbi Weisz added. “Israel365 is working closely with other Israeli NGOs and the NRB to form a task force helping Christian journalists report on the Jewish State with more honesty and accuracy. We are working hard so that truth ultimately prevails over the constant lies about Israel coming from mainstream media.”

David Friedman, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, speaks about the importance of Judea and Samaria at the Keep God’s Event at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 22, 2024. Photo by Larry Brook.
(source: JNS)

“Judea and Samaria was renamed the ‘West Bank’ by Jordan, following the Jordanian capture of that region in the 1948 War of Independence and its subsequent occupation until 1967,” the resolution stated, noting that, ironically, the region is located in the eastern side of Israel. “The ‘West Bank’ is merely a geographical term applicable to the country of Jordan and has no historical nor legal bearing.”

This point was emphasized by Rabbi Elie Mischel, the educational director of Israel 365,who noted that the resolution proposed language that was historically more accurate than the term ‘West Bank’ which is widely used in mainstream media to refer to Judea and Samaria.

“Language is very powerful and very dangerous,” Rabbi Mischel said. “The Jordanians made up the name “West Bank”, and it falsely implies that the “primary” biblical land is modern day Jordan, while Judea and Samaria are merely the “West Bank” of the Jordan River. But this language is deceitful. Judea and Samaria are not of secondary importance. They are the biblical heartland of Israel, where the great majority of the Bible took place! “

“There is no Israel without Judea and Samaria, and they must be called by that name,” he added.

The resolution noted the insidious intent behind the term ‘West Bank’.

Jews celebrate the week-long holiday of Sukkot at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in Judea nd Samaria, Oct. 3, 2023. Photo by Eytan Schweber/TPS.

“Throughout history, enemies of the Jewish people have attempted to erase the Jewish connection to the land by renaming it – whether it’s the Roman attempt to sever Jewish ties to the entire land of Israel by renaming it “Philistia” (or the Greek Palestina) or its Jordan renaming Judea and Samaria “the West Bank” or modern governments calling it, the “occupied Palestinian Territories” – the truth to the region’s identity lies in its Biblical roots,” the resolution read.

The resolution emphasized that Judea and Samaria are critical to Israeli security. 

“The Samaritan mountains overlook the Israeli coast, including Tel Aviv and other major population centers, including Israel’s international airport;” it stated. “Judea and Samaria provide strategic depth, without which Israel is only nine miles wide in some areas.”

Knesset Member Dan Illouz was at the NRB convention and enthusiastically praised the Biblical Heartland Resolution.

“Judea and Samaria is the historical heartland of the Jewish people,” Illouz said. “Using any other terminology is just a trick to confuse people and ignore the simple fact: Jews are from Judea. That is where our name comes from! We thank our friends at the National Religious Broadcasters for taking this clear stance within Christian media and I call on the Jewish media to do the same.”

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