Donald Trump speaks at a conference in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three settler leaders are packing their bags for Washington so they can attend the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump on Friday.
The trio – Oded Revivi, Benny Kashriel and Yossi Dagan – said they received invitations through congressional contacts.
They see their trip to the US capital as a sign that the Trump administration will not follow in the anti-settlement footsteps of US President Barack Obama.
“I think it is an indication that we are an important partner in any dialogue that is taking place or is going to take place about this region,” said Revivi, who is the Efrat Council head and the chief foreign envoy of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.
“We’re opening a new page with the Americans,” said an excited Kashriel who serves as mayor of Ma’aleh Adumim, the third largest Jewish city in the West Bank.
Both Kashriel and Revivi represent regions of the West Bank that are settlement blocs and are part of an annexation campaign by right-wing parliamentarians.
During the election campaign, Kashriel issued an invitation to Trump to visit Ma’aleh Adumim, located just outside of Jerusalem.
Kashriel said it was very emotional to think of being in Washington for such a historic moment. He added, “I hope it leads to the recognition of Ma’aleh Adumim as part of [sovereign] Israel.”
Dagan openly campaigned for Trump during the election.
While in Washington, he will meet with Republicans, including those close to the president-elect.
In a letter to Dagan after the election, the co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel, Marc Zell, wrote, “Your great skill and connections... made a huge contribution to the success of the party’s campaign in Israel.”
Dagan said that for years his council’s international outreach program has conducted tours for Americans, including politicians, to show them that Samaria is Israel’s biblical heartland.
As a result, he met a number of people who were part of Trump’s circle and saw firsthand how much they “loved Judea and Samaria.”
Just last month, he said, his council hosted Trump adviser Becky Norton Dunlop.
“We hope the election heralds a new era of friendship between Israel and the US, one that is not based on Israeli concessions with regard to its vital interests,” Dagan said.