Whatever you think about the president, this much is true - he has terrible timing. He arrives in Israel tomorrow for a three day visit. Pretty much the entire city of Jerusalem is shutting down. He should have at least asked someone if it was a convenient time to visit. Let me be clear. It is not.
People who live in the area of the King David have to carry their apartment leases or deeds with them to be allowed accesss to their homes. Students at the Hebrew Union College are taking final exams across town. And several of the big hotels had to completely empty out to accomodate all of the people who come with the president and the press corps.
And no one knows why he is really coming to Israel.
Thankfully, he decided to take a helicopter from the airport to Jerusalem. The original plan was motorcade and the complete closing of the highway that runs between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. His schedule calls for a visit to Yad VaShem on Friday morning. The required visits for our buses had to be rescheduled, and some of our buses have to leave their hotels at 6:30am on Friday morning so that they get out before the roads are closed. I think I'll be doing a lot of walking the next few days....
It's a little surreal driving around the city. There are always Israeli flags everywhere, but now there are also American flags up all over as well.