Sen. Manchin: Israel has been a real journey for me - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Sen. Manchin: Israel has been a real journey for me

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on May 30 his most recent trip to Israel has been one of the most amazing trips he has ever taken.

“Things are very tense and to watch how Israelis are handling it — we are able to see quite a bit,” Manchin said Friday morning. “Hopefully they will find a pathway to peace.”

Manchin said he and his wife, Gayle, have had many religious experiences and were honored to attend services in Israel.

Manchin said he was astonished by the youth participating in serving their country to instill true values in them.

“It would be something we should look at, it would be a novel approach in some of the challenges we have with the youth (in America),” Manchin said of making children participate in military services.

Manchin said one of the most moving experiences he discovered was at an Israeli hospital on the Syrian border. He said it was amazing to him the Israeli doctors would perform surgeries and heal the Syrians without any questions asked. Manchin spoke of a 12-year-old boy who was missing his legs and one arm as a result of an IED exploding in a nearby village.

“It was by the grace of God he was living,” Manchin said.

Manchin said it was amazing to him the ability to stand on a hill and look over on one side to see bombings and canon fire while the other is going about normally.

He said the trip, to him, is about discovering what he can do to help, both Israel and Syria.

“My mission is to understand and learn,” Manchin said.

On his trip, Manchin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while touring holy sites with Rabbi Victor Urecki from B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, who was also visiting the country for the first time.

Manchin said while talking to the prime minister and meeting with those top government officials he was able to have an open dialogue to understand just what was happening.

He said the Israelis have said openly they recognize the right for Palestine to have sovereignty and are simply waiting for the Palestinians to acknowledge it as well.

“Every one of the (government) officials will tell you we live in a tough neighborhood,” Manchin said. “With that being said we have to remain vigilant to people who want to do us harm.”

Manchin said he has seen a commitment not only from the youth willing to serve their country out of high school, but the families living there.

“It gives them a direction and pathway to life, but also ownership of their country – which I think is very special, and needed,” Manchin said. “This is a way I see them connected to the land like no other people.”