The Yesha Council was founded in the 1980s as the successor to Gush Emunim (“Bloc of the Faithful”). The organization was formed to promote Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley (Yesha) as the heart of the Bible Land and the birthplace of the Jewish people and its heritage and serves as the umbrella organization for all the local authorities in those areas.
The Council consists of 24 democratically elected representing municipalities with a combined Israeli population of more than 460,000 people.
The Council works to improve security by (for instance) arranging the acquisition of bullet-proof ambulances and buses. It also works with the Israeli government to provide roads, electricity, and water to the settlements.
In addition to municipal and security issues, the Council serves as the political arm of the Israeli residents of Yesha. The Council lobbies for their interests with the Knesset and the government.
The Council also conducts public relations campaigns to support its goals, humanize the residents who are often demonized by critics and the media, and promote the growth of Jewish communities in the region.
The Council’s goals and objectives include:
- To secure the borders of the State of Israel.
- To safeguard Israel’s strategic expanses–between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
- To ensure Israel’s right to the Land by strengthening Israeli settlement in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.
- To apply Israeli sovereignty in the area.
- To settle one million Israelis in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.
- To develop roads, transportation, water, electricity and economic infrastructures.
- To double the number of tourists from all over the world and all religions.
- To prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The chairman of the Yesha Council in 2020 is David Elhayani.
Sources: The Yesha Council;