Fighting against odds: Pakistani-American woman realises her Israel’s Jerusalem Dream

A Pakistani-American woman has realised her dream of visiting Jerusalem’s holy sites while many of us cannot even think about setting foot in Israel.

Washington-based journalist Madeeha Anwar Chaudhry harboured a longstanding desire to visit the city because of her father. “My dad was an avid traveler who was extremely keen on visiting Jerusalem. He couldn’t because he had a Pakistani passport,” she told media.

Soon after her visit, Chaudhry posted over 70 pictures on Facebook featuring a number of sacred sites. Her travel photo album A visit to the ‘Forbidden Land’ (Israel & Palestine) has garnered over 19,000 likes from people the world over. Talking about her father, who passed away in 2014, she said he would have been ecstatic had he lived “to see this day”.

Upon emigrating to the United States, Chaudhry said, she had vowed to visit the fabled city as soon as she obtained an American passport. “A few months after becoming a US citizen, I visited Israel and prayed at Masjid-e-Aqsa, Dome of the Rock and explored the old streets of Jerusalem,” she said.

Chaudhry said she had come to realise that Jerusalem residents — Jews, Christians and Muslims associated distinct stories with the  city. This, she said, was emblematic of the “unique and sacred” connection they had with the promised land.

“I felt the force of history in Bethlehem, Hebron, the Dead Sea area and Jericho — places steeped in antiquity. I got to interact with locals of all Abrahamic faiths,” Chaudhry said.

“It was amazing to be somewhere so far removed from most Pakistanis,” she said. A former Express Newsstaffer, Chaudhry is currently associated with Voice of America Urdu. She is penning a travelogue documenting her visit to the promised land.