‘There’s no connection between the way Israel is portrayed and how it really is’.
A delegation of Jordanian students visiting Israel met on Wednesday with Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara (Likud) and director of the ministry, Hashem Hussein. The group is touring Israel at the invitation of the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.
The program is part of a joint effort with the Center of Israel Studies in Amman, which works to foster ties between Israelis and Jordanians.
The visiting Jordanian students spent the week touring Israel, visiting sites across the country including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Jordan Valley, as well a number of joint Israeli-Jordanian projects. The students also met with young Israelis from all walks of life.
Members of the Jordanian delegation expressed surprise at what they saw in Israel.
“Four days ago,” said a female student, “if you would have mentioned the word ‘Israel’ to me, I wouldn’t have been able to listen. [But] today I understand that what I’ve been told up until now about Israel is completely disconnected from reality. I’m amazed that in my four days here I’ve only seen one solider. I was sure that all of Israel was just one big army.”
Another student noted that when she put up Facebook posts showing highlights from her trip around Israel, she quickly received hundreds of positive responses from other Jordanians.
Hashem Hussein, Director of the Regional Cooperation Ministry, told the students that he would work to expand the number of visas available for similar delegations to visit Israel.
Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara addressed the delegation, emphasizing Israel’s ties with Jordan.
“Israel sees the Hashemite Kingdom [Jordan] as a major ally. We’re already cooperating in a wide range of areas including agriculture, economic development, and infrastructure.”