Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced a cooperation and friendship agreement between the county and the communities of Judea and Samaria on Thursday.
The agreement between Nassau and the Israeli communities, Blakeman said, will be one also based on economic and cultural aspects. Officials said Plaestinian Authority and the international community do not recognize Samaria, an area within the Jewish homeland.
“Today I was proud to sign a friendship, economic and cultural exchange agreement with Judea and Samaria from Israel,” Blakeman said Thursday. “I look forward to a long and prosperous partnership between our two governments and people.”
Judea and Samaria, whose names go back to Biblical times, is now an Israeli-designated administrative territory that encompasses the Israeli-occupied West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. Judea refers to all the regions south of Jerusalem while Samaria refers to the area north of Jerusalem.
The Shomron Regional Council provides services for the Jewish towns and Israeli settlements in the Samarian hills, a population of more than 23,000 people.
Blakeman was joined by various community and religious leaders, including Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Shomron Regional Council, located in the northern West Bank. Dagan thanked Blakeman and the county for arranging the agreement and said he looks forward to the partnership between the parties.
“If we work together, we can win,” Dagan said. “We have the same values, the same enemies and the same ideals. Today we are stronger, because together, all of our residents will win.”
Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip, who evacuated her birth country of Ethiopia in 1991 to go to Israel, said the partnership “will enhance trade, security, agriculture, heritage and cultural diversity” between the involved parties.
The Town of Hempstead also signed a Declaration of Cooperation with the Region of Shomron delegation in September 2016, when Blakeman was a member of the town board. North Hempstead officials condemned Ben & Jerry’s 2021 decision to stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank, calling the move dangerous and anti-Israel.
Former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, along with Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, voiced harsh condemnations of the Vermont-based ice cream company’s decision last year.
North Hempstead Council members had unanimously passed legislation prohibiting the town from working with companies participating in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in 2017, calling it a damaging and discriminatory policy against the state of Israel being perpetrated by a mounting number of entities.