Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield tours the Palmachim Air Force base, Nov.16, 2021. (IDF) (IDF)
Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield

U.S. Ambassador to the UN gets crash course on Israeli security issues with tours, briefings and meetings with top officials.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Diplomats visiting Israel — especially if it’s their first trip — are known to be given VIP tours and briefings of the borders. That’s in addition to meetings with Israeli officials.

So it’s not surprising that the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has been busy for the last two days.

The itinerary for her first ever visit to Israel was packed.

In no particular order, Thomas-Greenfield:

• Paid respects at Yad Vashem.
• Visited the Gaza border for a tour and briefing on the security situation with Hamas.
• Visited the family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed in Gaza in 2014 and whose body is held by Hamas.
• Met with Samer Abdel Jaber of the World Food Program to learn more about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
• Visited the Palmachim Air Base for a close-up look at the Iron Dome and Israel’s multi-layered missile defense system.
• Visited Israel’s northern border, where she toured a Hezbollah terror tunnel, was briefed on the Iranian threat and also met with the blue helmet multinational peacekeepers of UNIFIL.
• Met with top Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.
• Visited Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli for Israeli takeaways on upgrading roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
• Was accompanied the entire time by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan.

Her comments emphasized “a new spirit of cooperation” with Israel, reiterated the Biden administration’s support for replenishing Iron Dome and expressed support for strengthening UNIFIL’s mandate, among other things.

 


Many visiting dignitaries are also given an eye-opening helicopter ride so they can see for themselves how small Israel really is.

Those rides became popular in 1998, when Ariel Sharon, then a cabinet minister, took Texas governor George W. Bush Jr. up for a bird’s eye view of Israel’s borders. That ride is widely credited with reinforcing Bush’s sympathies with Israel and establishing a personal chemistry that later came into play when they worked together in their roles as U.S. president and Israeli prime minister.

But choppers weren’t in the cards for Thomas-Greenfield. She had to move on to Ramallah and Amman for more meetings and briefings.

There are, after all, only 24 hours in a day.

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