Settlement leader invited to speak at AIPAC for first time

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat, will take part in a panel on Judea and Samaria at the conference.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

The head of the Efrat Regional Council will speak at the AIPAC Policy Conference for the first time.

Oded Revivi will lead a panel during the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which will take place in Washington, D.C. between March 24-26.

The Yesha Council, which is the political arm of the Jewish-populated areas in Judea and Samaria, did not have a strong relationship with AIPAC in the past.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that an official representative of the Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria is speaking at the AIPAC conference by virtue of his position,” Revivi said in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.

“This comes after we worked closed closely with AIPAC’s office in Israel over the past two years,” he said.

“Up until a few years ago, AIPAC, like numerous U.S. administrations, had avoided any manner of ties with the residents of Judea and Samaria. It was only on rare occasions that the delegations it sent to Israel would also tour the settlements,” according to Israel Hayom.

“But by the end of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s term in office, change was in the air and the Yesha Council increased its efforts toward building ties with influential organizations in the U.S., among them AIPAC,” the paper reports.

The 35-year-old lawyer wants to change the image the world has of Jews who live in the settlements.

Revivi is expected to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at AIPAC and the future of Judea and Samaria. In December, he criticized Israeli leaders, saying it is time to take down the separation barrier.