President Donald Trump arrived in Israel on Monday for the second leg of his historic first foreign trip as president after receiving an incredibly warm reception in Saudi Arabia.
Prior to Trump’s arrival however, a good friend and supporter was already on the ground in the Jewish Holy land, that being former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — once a presidential rival, now a chief surrogate — reprising his role as a sort of unofficial American ambassador to the land held sacred by Christians and Jews alike.
According to the Israel National News, Huckabee joined upwards of 5,000 other people for an organized journey in the middle of the night to pray and pay respects at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, a journey that required heavy military and police escort due to the tomb’s location in the Palestinian Authority-governed area of Samaria.
You can watch some footage of the trip here:
“It’s an amazing experience to have to come to this type of difficulty just to be able to come to a holy site for Jews and frankly even for Christians, who pay tribute to Joseph,” Huckabee said at the tomb, according to Ynet.
“To have to do it in the dead of night, under armed guard, with the smell of tear gas in the air, burning tires along the route, it’s a stark reminder (to how different) it is in the heart of Israel, where the Israeli government protects every Muslim that accesses their holy site,” he continued.
“In Judea and Samaria Jewish people do not have unhindered access to holy sites without having to go to extraordinary lengths in order to be able to access these places for prayer,” Huckabee lamented .
To get a sense of the controversial nature of Mike Huckabee’s visit to the Muslim-controlled location of Joseph’s Tomb, check out the coverage of the event from the Middle East Monitor, which reported that thousands of “extremist” Israelis “stormed” the sacred site.
They further reported that a number of Palestinian protesters were injured and/or detained after clashing with the police and military escorts guarding the convoy of buses and armored vehicles, and decried the method by which Israelis visit the tomb.
Yet, how else are Christians and Jews supposed to pay tribute at a revered holy site when those who reside and govern there refuse to peacefully provide access, if not escorted and protected by armed military and police officers?
Hopefully Trump’s efforts at bringing together the disparate Muslim nations to combat terrorism and his work at renewing the U.S.-Israeli friendship will someday soon result in peoples of all faiths being permitted to peacefully visit any sacred site they desire, no matter where it is located, without fear of being harassed, attacked or killed.
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