Why Is­raelis must visit Jor­dan more

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

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

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