After flying throughout the night we landed at Ben Gurion Airport in the morning and hit the ground running. After meeting our guide, Danny Apelbom, we visited the ancient port of Jaffa just south of Tel Aviv. During our visit there Danny spent time acclimating our group to some of the basic logistics, topography and history of Israel to create context for our trip.
After lunch we visited the Israel Museum at the Yitzchak Rabin Center. In contrast to our overview of the ancient history of Israel, we had an opportunity to learn about the modern state of Israel and many of the brightest points in the young nation’s history as well as some of the lowest points. As a vibrant Democracy Israel is a nation of people committed to the basic freedoms of individuals and in that commitment looks at its actions and history in unvarnished terms.
After a quick refresh and check in at our hotel we spent dinner visiting with two extremely accomplished members of the US Embassy’s diplomatic staff. Marc Nordberg and Jonathan Shrier shared their experience and insights with the group on a wide range of topics, including Israel’s economic relationships with the US and nations around the world as well as its government’s relationships within the nation as well as the world community. After a long day our group was ready for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we will spend the day at the Israeli Knesset, Parliament, where our Legislative delegation will be meeting with their peers to discuss a wide range of issues.
By: Sen.-Elect Denny Hoskins
Today was a long, tiresome day, but the excitement of being in Israel definitely carried everyone throughout the day.
One of the things that amazed us today was the architecture. In Missouri, most structures were built in the last 75 years. Jaffa and Tel Aviv have structures built hundreds if not thousands of years ago.
The food today was also amazing. It’s always an adjustment to eat in a foreign country, but the food, service and ambiance made the meals wonderful. Make sure you try everything-appetizers, main courses and desserts.
By: Rep. Kirk Mathews
I have several initial impressions from
our first day in Israel. First, the “amount” of history here is staggering. While that may seem like a statement of the obvious, somehow experiencing that reality is very different than just thinking about it.
Secondly, until you experience Israel, it is difficult to appreciate the accomplishments of such a small country that has been surrounded by sworn enemies for its entire existence! Israel defines the old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention”. One example is the incredible water management system Israel has developed.
Finally, Tel Aviv seems to be a city of contrasts. For example, from a distance, the skyline is beautiful with dozens of newer skyscraper apartment buildings, many that are very expensive. However, driving through the streets, there are many older and deteriorating buildings intermingled with the new apartment buildings. Overall our first day has set a very high bar for my expectations of the rest of the trip!
December 4 Highlights
- Jaffa: Walking tour of Jaffa, less than a mile south of Tel Aviv. Jaffa is a beautiful city rich with historical and cultural significance. Its strategic hilltop location and natural harbor rendered it a contested place since Biblical times. Today it is bustling with its integrated mix of Jewish and Arab citizens, who run an array of colorful markets, fine seafood restaurants and interesting shops.
- Otzarin: Brunch at Otzarin in an authentic Jaffa style building with views over the Old City and the sea.
- Yitzhak Rabin Center: Located in Tel Aviv, the Yitzhak Rabin Center weaves the history of the state of Israel through the life story of one of its most devoted sons. The center showcases the most uplifting, critical and difficult moments of the state and of Rabin’s life.
- Dinner with Guests from the American Embassy: Dinner at Lumina and a combined briefing by Marc Nordberg, Deputy Political Counselor, and Jonathan Shrier, Economic Counselor, on Israeli civil society, its business environment, the regional political situation and more.