Where are Judea & Samaria?

Situated in the very heart of modern day Israel, Judea & Samaria lie alongside Israel’s eastern boundary with Jordan, to the north and south of Jerusalem. The media often refers to this area as “The West Bank,” for it lies on the west bank of the Jordan River dividing the modern State of Israel from Jordan. The area is often compared to the shape of a kidney bean.

Covering about 21% of modern Israel, Judea and Samaria span 3,438 square miles (5,500 square km). It stretches approximately 79 miles (125 km) from north to south and has a varying width of 19-34 miles (30-55 km) from east to west. This area includes the suburbs surrounding Jerusalem, regions east of Tel Aviv, and stretches up to the Jordan River on the east.


Most of the famous cities of the Bible are located inside Judea and Samaria, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Bethel, Shechem and Shiloh.

Judea and Samaria encompass Israel’s central mountain range, offering a panoramic view from 1,100 meters above sea level of Tel Aviv, Israel’s bustling hub, and Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s primary airport.


“Judea” refers to the area south of Jerusalem, which was historically the territory of the Israelite tribe of Judah.


 “Samaria” refers to the hilly territory north of Jerusalem, which was historically the territory of the tribes of Benjamin, Manasseh and Ephraim. The name “Samaria” derives from the capital city built by the ancient Israelite King Omri in this region (I Kings 16:24)


Over 500,000 Jews currently live in Judea & Samaria. There are four large Jewish cities and close to 200 Jewish towns and villages in the region. There are approximately two million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, although this number is questionable.

According to Naomi Kahn, the International Director of Regavim, “[When the Oslo Accords were implemented in the early 1990s], there was no data on how many Arabs were living in any of the areas of Judea and Samaria. The UN and the Palestinian Authority have vested interests in inflating their numbers. The PA does not take censuses and they do not hold elections so it is impossible to know. UNRWA data classifies descendants of refugees as residents of the region even if they have never been there.”


Israel is a small country, and Judea & Samaria are adjacent to its largest population centers. Netanya, a coastal city on the Mediterranean, is just 9 miles from Judea and Samaria, while Tel Aviv is only an 11-mile journey from the region. Ben Gurion Airport stands a short 4 miles from J&S.

Judea and Samaria are critically important to Israel for two reasons: God Promised Judea & Samaria to Israel’s Forefathers – Judea & Samaria is the very heart of the homeland that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for their descendents, the children of Israel. Judea & Samaria are Essential to Israel’s Security – Judea and Samaria’s location at the very heart of Israel make Israeli sovereignty over this area essential to Israel’s national security.

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The land of Israel was originally settled by the pagan tribes, known in the Bible as the “Seven Nations” – the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Hivites, Perizzites, and Girgashites. But as God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the land of Israel was promised to the descendents of Jacob, the people of Israel. In 1273 BCE, the people of Israel, led by Joshua, crossed the Jordan River and entered the land of Israel. In the ensuing years, the people of Israel conquered the land, which was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.

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The Complex Political Status of Judea and Samaria In the 1967 Six-Day War, in its victory over Jordan and other Arab nations, Israel liberated Judea and Samaria. Israel, however, was governed primarily by secular leaders who were not yet ready to embrace Israel’s biblical homeland. Instead of annexing Judea and Samaria, they remained “controlled territories.” Tragically, Israel’s indecisiveness and unwillingness to embrace its history and heartland has led to decades of Arab terror and attempts to drive the Jewish people out of Judea and Samaria.

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The Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are under attack. Islamic terrorists murder Jewish men, women and children in Judea and Samaria every week.  Radical activists around the world work night and day to undermine the Jewish people’s claim to their biblical heartland. The European Union and the United States quietly support these attacks on Judea and Samaria, sending hundreds of millions of dollars in “aid” to the Palestinian Authority, where it is used to fund terror against Israelis. 

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Following the Hamas atrocities of October 7, 2023, in which Hamas brutally murdered over 1,200 innocent Israelis, President Biden and his administration have repeatedly declared their support for the creation of a Palestinian state within the framework of a “two-state solution.” On November 26, 2023, President Biden said: “A two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” He added that his administration “will not give up on working towards this goal.”

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