An Israeli soldier explained the nation’s defense concerns to Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana delegation to Israel Tuesday. The group then toured Golan Heights, an historic and often disputed point that gives its occupants the high ground in battle.
From the peak, a viewer can clearly see Syrian villages and outposts. A tank sits on the side of an Israeli hill, but the bunker at Golan Heights has been converted into a memorial and coffee shop.
“You can stand right there and just a couple of kilometers away is Syria, an area of territory that has been held by the rebels, by ISIS, and now by the Assad regime all within the last several months,” Edwards said.
The Israeli government invited the delegation on a tour. The nation declared a statewide holiday for its municipal elections that made the visit possible.
Monday night, the delegation visited an Iron Dome outpost, where a missile-intercepting rocket launcher perched on the back of a trailer is stationed at an undisclosed location.
“I think Israel tries to make sure that every politician that comes from the United States has the opportunity to see things like the Iron Dome, the Gaza strip, or Golan Heights to get a personal appreciation for the situation that they have here, both as it relates to their ongoing situation, but also as it relates to the needs of the region,” Edwards said.
The Israeli soldier explained the nation is trying to provide humanitarian aid to the people who are displaced, but who are taught to hate Israelis. The soldier mentioned Friend Ships Unlimited, a humanitarian group from Lake Charles, Louisiana, as being particularly helpful.