On Monday 20th of February, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in Singapore saying “Jewish Children were singing Hebrew songs in a Muslim state [Kazakhstan], that reflects the kind of world we like to see: a world of tolerance, a world of diversity as opposed to the world that is being challenged today by the forces of barbarism and intolerance….This is a battle for the future of humanity.”
He later added, “The future is represented in Israel, which is also a diverse country, which also has minorities, which respects people and we see that same respect here in Singapore…. We [Singapore and Israel] are committed to a better world, a world of diversity, a world that follows the values that we as a people have held for so many years for so many decades for millenniums… I want to ask a simple question, who of you has not been to Israel, no show of hands, all of you have been to Israel? Come again! I want a reciprocal visit, this year, this year in Jerusalem!”
I wish this had been the experience I had when I arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport. I was on track to become the youngest person to visit all 193 sovereign nations while maintaining a full time job. I have also visited 220 of the 221 countries according to Lonely Planet guide books. The One Country Missing: Israel!
I still have not been told why I was deported and was completely shocked when that very significant decision was made based on a five minute interview. Israel immigration played “Where’s Waldo”, searching through every page of my 90-page passport, looking for any possible middle eastern stamp. This prompted them to interview me. They asked me when I was in Lebanon and who I knew there. I told immigration, “I met this girl, we walked around downtown and then she took me to a place that overlooked the ocean.”
This prompted them to also ask me who I knew in Iran, where I politely informed them I also met a girl and went to dinner with her. How did I know them? Tinder.
I also met Israelis from Tinder and had a great time getting to know them as well. Israel was not only my last country, but I also was very excited to see the sites I had learned about my entire life growing up Catholic. In addition to this, I was also planning to meet dental surgeons while I was in Israel since I speak and presents about dentistry in conferences around the world.
I have global entry for the USA. This means the American government has done additional security checks on me and determined I’m a very low risk traveler and safe person. I have provided international medical service work all around the world trying to help out those that are most in need.
The question then is, when did having Arab friends become such a threat? When did doctors get punished for helping out those in need? Hopefully, there will be a day when there is a world that respects diversity as opposed to the current world that is challenged today by the forces of barbarism and intolerance.