Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with visiting Republican congressmen Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio after the pair visited the Temple Mount and areas of the West Bank, including Hebron.The two politicians also met with Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan in the Psagot settlement, where he spoke with them about the importance of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and how people of all faiths should be able to pray there.
At present, only Muslims may pray at the site, which is the holiest site in Judaism and the third most holy for Islam. But under US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, there would be an option for all religions to pray there. Erdan spoke with the congressmen about that aspect of the plan.Erdan urged them to push for cuts to America’s financial contribution to the United Nations, to protest the publication of the UN Human Rights Council’s black list of companies doing business in areas over the pre-1967 lines.The original FAMILY VALUES: Showing the Hall of Leah and Jacob at the Tomb of the Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs in #HEBRON to two great American congressman and their wonderful spouses @Jim_Jordan and @RepMikeJohnson pic.twitter.com/5fo0BGVVLW— Yishai Fleisher ישי פליישר (@YishaiFleisher) February 18, 2020
Erdan also spoke with the congressmen about using US legislation to prevent European boycotts against companies operating in Judea and Samaria, as well as in east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.In addition, Erdan called for US investments in Israeli industrial parks in the West Bank, where both Jews and Palestinians work side by side.The congressmen also visited Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Gush Etzion region.In Samaria, Johnson and Jordan stopped at the Barkan industrial park, where both Israelis and Palestinians work together.Johnson said, “We are greatly concerned about the black list. It is unfair and unjust. There are a lot of members of the US Congress who would stand against that. We look forward to helping to voice those concerns when we get back to Washington.”Great meeting with Congressmen @Jim_Jordan & @RepMikeJohnson to discuss the importance of swift recognition of sovereignty in Judea & Samaria, and expanding US law against anti-Israel boycotts to boycotts led by the UN, like the @UN_HRC#BDS blacklist— גלעד ארדן Gilad Erdan (@giladerdan1) February 18, 2020
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan told the congressmen that the US “was giving life to the UN with its tax money. If you stop funding to this hypocritical body, whose entire purpose is to harm Israel, it will immediately collapse.”Johnson is a key Trump ally. Both he and Jordan worked with the president’s legal team to combat the impeachment charges.Jordan has been a strong advocate of Israel, but got into hot water last year over a tweet that was deemed by some to be antisemitic. It replaced the letter S with a $ dollar sign in referring to Democratic billionaire donor Tom Steyer, whose father is Jewish.
Congressmen Mike Johnson of Louisiana speaks about the blacklist