This article appeared in the August 16, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Why everybody should visit Israel

Mohamad Torokman/Reuters
Muftia, the grandmother of U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, looks on as she stands in front of her house in the village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Aug. 16, 2019.

In today’s Daily, we look at the slowing global economy, a lawmaker in the limelight, the need for more study in a high-profile debate, progress that's come drop by drop, and an unforgettable documentary.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib isn’t going to the West Bank to see her grandmother after all. The House Democrat and fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar had planned to visit the Israeli-occupied territory, and Israel seemed amenable – despite the women’s support of the anti-Israel boycott movement. Then President Donald Trump took to Twitter, and within hours, Israel had barred the visit. 

Ultimately, Israel relented, but Ms. Tlaib – profiled in her district in Michigan in today’s Monitor Daily – rejected the new conditions.

It’s not every day that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, top Republicans, and AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby group, agree. But they did here. AIPAC tweeted that despite the women’s politics, “we also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.” 

That message could easily be broadened. Anybody with a chance to visit Israel would learn so much about its rich history and culture, and its welcoming people, as I was able to do in 1984 – from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to the West Bank and Lebanese border. We rented a car and drove the entire country, an experience that shows just how small and vulnerable Israel is. In other words, we saw the place and talked to people for ourselves. We didn’t rely on others’ impressions.

Perhaps someday Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar will have another opportunity.

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This article appeared in the August 16, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/16 edition