On Sunday morning, day 5 of our trip, we were treated to an interesting tour and discussion on the geopolitics of Jerusalem. We experienced an absolutely spectacular view of Jerusalem from various high points surrounding the city, as seen in the photos below. Our official tour guide was sick and unfortunately couldn’t make it, but our trip guide Moki did a fantastic job giving us the basic history and political realities of Jerusalem in the modern state of Israel. We discussed the location of the Green Line and the stances of the Israeli government, the United States, and the United Nations on that line and the status of Jerusalem. We also discussed the Israelis who live over the Green Line and their justification for doing so, along with the general perception of their situation among Israelis, Arabs, and the world. One particularly interesting discussion surrounded the laws about rights to purchase/rent property for Jews and Arabs in towns that are predominantly the other group. Additionally, we had the opportunity to see Bethlehem from afar and the security fence/wall which sparked a valuable discussion about the reasons the barrier is up, why it is criticized so much, and various viewpoints about its future. Learning the history of the eternal Jewish capital of Jerusalem and the current political discussions regarding it was a very valuable experience that we will not forget.
— Matthew Stein