"The entire Land of Israel belongs to us,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared on Wednesday, during a visit to Itamar in Samaria in honor of the new school year.
“Zionism is a policy of settlement,” Rivlin explained, calling Itamar, the site of the terrorist attack in March in which five members of the Fogel family were killed in their home, “an example for all Jews who return to their homeland.”
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“I chose to open the school year here to identify with and salute the residents who, after suffering such a harsh blow, proved that no one can stand strongly as they did,” Rivlin said. “I came here to express hope that the year and its curses will end, and a new, blessed year will begin.”
Rivlin said that the last time he visited Itamar, it was with prime minister Ariel Sharon, who suggested connecting settlements in Samaria to the Jordan Valley, “out of a strategic way of thinking that included territorial depth and continuity.”
“I believe with complete faith and have never changed my opinion that the Land of Israel is entirely ours,” Rivlin said. “Itamar is not an obstacle to peace, and it will continue to exist if the Palestinians want true peace.”
He explained: “I came here from Jerusalem, on a road with Israelis and Palestinians.
Peace will exist only when everyone truly wants to live together.”
On a visit to a religious elementary school in Itamar, Rivlin told first-grade pupils that they “are building the land more swiftly than my ancestors, who built Jerusalem.
“Nothing will stand in your way, if you want to build in the Land of Israel,” the Knesset speaker said. “You should grow up to be people who stand up for their beliefs.”
He joked to the children that they sound like they are ready for the second grade, and wished them luck in their studies.
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika told Rivlin that he hopes “the government will be wise enough to build sufficient classrooms for these wonderful children, as it does for students throughout the country.”
Rivlin also visited the Fogel family residence, saying that the attack earlier this year is “one of the most atrocious deeds in the history of this conflict. The disgusting murder of a toddler is terrible and incomprehensible.”