Why Israelis must visit Jordan more
over the Temple Mount riots. When I announced I was going to visit, my parents warned I could be kidnapped.
Yet in Amman, we experienced nothing but traditional Arab hospitality. Our visit to the capital’s Roman amphitheatre was followed by a shopping spree downtown. Everyone understood we were Israelis, but there was intrigue, not annoyance, and questions, not threats. I never felt unsafe, even in the former PLO headquarters.
We were also reassured by the large number of American fast food restaurants and British chain stores, which were comfortingly familiar, and which, I know, would be pounced upon by Israeli tourists — if only they felt comfortable visiting.
Last month at Yale University, Jordan’s Queen Rania repeated her husband’s statement that “it is time for Israel to choose: to integrate into the region, accepted and accepting, with normal relations with its neighbours. Or to remain fortress Israel, isolated...”
My visit convinced me that this suggestion should be taken seriously. While there are clearly Arab states which Israelis and Jews cannot enter, we can go to Jordan — familiarising ourselves with, and becoming familiar to, its inhabitants, helping to normalise relations. Fifteen years after the peace treaty, we must take up the Queen’s challenge.
Ruth Eglash writes for the Jerusalem Post