Today it was announced by the Prime Minister of Israel’s office that Israel has barred American Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who are both women of color and Muslim. They are also Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, (which is also known as BDS) supporters. A movement that criticizes the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government.
I being a dual citizen of both the United States and Israel was very disappointed to hear this news. My politics have changed but my love for Israel hasn’t. I have lived in Israel for over 5 years when I made Aliyah (Jewish Right of Return).
It was challenging to live there, especially not being able to speak fluent Hebrew. That resulted in a very difficult choice in leaving Israel and to return to America. Th goal was to provide a better life for my kids. Even
though I no longer live in Israel, I still love Israel and the values it has historically represented. Though the Israeli government can be cold and heartless, they do not represent the majority of people who live there. The people of Israel are welcoming, kind, and loving. They look out for each other and welcoming in strangers from all different religious back grounds and ethnic groups.
Many of my readers remember what changed my political beliefs, power of a respectful discourse. Being able to hear different point of views with facts and compassion. And when I heard that the American congresswomen were banned, I was saddened. I thought what a great opportunity for them to learn what Israel is really about. After I changed my politics, I really haven’t spoken up about what goes on in Israel except on a few occasions but I think this incident is too important to be silent. The great thing about dialogue is having the ability to be able to agree to disagree and maintain a friendship for a long time. When I decided to allow my own wall of hatred to fall down, I made a new friend who many of you know, Linda Sarsour.
A cofounder of the women’s march and a staunch controversial critic of Israel. I apologized to her for my hateful trolling and she was very kind to forgive me. We now have an open and amazing friendship. A Palestinian American Muslim woman and an Israeli American Jewish man are friends. Imagine how much stronger of an ally our two countries can be if Netanyahu did the right thing instead of submitting to Trump’s request.
When I was in the United States Army, part of my duties as a Chaplain Assistant was being the security advisor to the chaplain in combat. I have two years of experience with that in Afghanistan. I have also lived in southern Israel during the 50 day war. I know what a security threat is and I can assure you, speaking as an Israeli citizen, that Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tliab are not threats to Israel. Mr. Netanyahu, for the sake of Israel’s Democracy. I request you to reconsider barring the two American Muslim congresswomen.