On April 17th, just a day before Passover, a delegation of students from Johns Hopkins University came to see the City of Ariel. Ariel was the first stop on their weeklong trip to Israel – a trip that would include a firsthand analysis of the geopolitics in the region from both Israeli and Arab perspectives.
Mayor Ron Nachman greeted the group in his office. He described the establishment of Ariel, Ariel’s strategic significance and the dangers of current anti-Israel political forces. After a few brief questions the group embarked on a tour of the city.
The tour began with the Ariel Industrial Park, continued to the Ariel National Leadership Development Center and then moved to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts. Other stops along the way included the Netzarim Community (formerly from the Gaza Strip), the Ariel University Center, the Israeli security fence and the Antenna Hill IDF post. As with all visiting groups these political science majors were exposed to a shocking reality. They learned that Samaria is nothing that they thought it was and everything that they thought it wasn’t.
The visit concluded with falafel in the Ariel commercial center. For many of the students this was their first encounter with Mid-Eastern cuisine. They were instructed to make the most of it, as it would be difficult to get a good falafel in Israel once Passover began.