Prime Minister "Bibi" Netanyahu offered President Obama more than talk at their meeting today: The Israeli leader presented the president with a copy of Mark Twain's "Pleasure Excursion to the Holy Land," according to Ha'aretz.
The 1867 travel memoir paints a bleak picture of Israel under Muslim rule. "Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village," Twain writes.
The essay, which is part of Twain's "The Innocents Abroad," describes the diversity of the Jewish state at the time. "It seems to me that all the races and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. Rags, wretchedness, poverty and dirt, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of Moslem rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, abound," Twain said.
The author added that "Jerusalem is mournful, and dreary, and lifeless. I would not desire to live here."