Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meeting Benjamin Netanyahu

I visited Israel during winter break of 1996/the first day or two of 1997. It was an amazing trip. I was part of the leadership bus consisting of college students throughout the country. Most of the people on the bus didn't know more than a few others, so there weren't the cliques that you might expect. I became friends with a couple from the University of Houston and went to their wedding a few years later. My assigned roommate attended Texas A&M, and I remember him trying to bargain for cheaper ice cream at Ben & Jerry's since you're expected to bargain at retail stores in Israel. Obviously, this did not apply at Ben & Jerry's but the interaction between my roommate and the employee was hilarious. I made friends with people from George Mason University, Arizona State University and San Diego State, and in this last case, she vouched me, helping me get a job there.

Unfortunately, I lost all of my pictures from this trip. I don't know if I accidentally threw them away packing up after college graduation, but they have been gone for 18+ years now. However, I recently found a newsletter that included this picture of me with the current Israeli Prime Minister and the leader at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu.

I honestly don't know why I was picked to meet Netanyahu, and more importantly, why the Prime Minister took time out of his schedule to address a group (though a large group) of American college students. I think I probably said hello, but I doubt we said more than ten words to each other. I'm positive that I was much nicer to Netanyahu than I was to former California Governor Gray Davis.

Netanyahu is in the news quite a bit these days. He's currently running for re-election in Israel and may or may not address Congress in the near future. Whether or not you agree or disagree with any (or all) of Netanyahu's opinions and policies, how often can you say that you shook hands with a country leader? I mean, sure I got a holiday card from the Gore family, but Al Gore was only the Vice President at that time, and it's not like we actually met.

1 comment:

Mike Finger said...

Good memories, my friend. Honored to be a part of yours. Pretty amazing that in one trip we heard a current PM and a future PM, Ehud Olmert, speak to us. I often wonder what happened to the rest of the crew we were with....