An Israeli-American couple who went on a pilgrimage to the Middle East to see the holy sites of Mecca and Medina is preparing to return home to a US town.
Sharon and Dan Kranz, from Maryland, decided to spend their days exploring the Muslim world because they said their experience in the country had been transformative.
“The fact that there was such a thing as a Jewish connection to the Holy Land was a big thing for me,” said Sharon Kranzy, 46, who also owns a pet grooming salon in Washington.
“You could literally walk in and get your haircut in this country and you could get your nails done in this nation.
That was really exciting.”
Sharon Kranzer has visited Mecca, Medina and other sites around the world, as well as Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Her husband, Dan Krantz, said he had always wanted to visit the Middle Eastern country, which is under Israeli military occupation and is considered by many to be a Palestinian homeland.
The Kranzes were among thousands of US Muslims who protested and were met with anti-Semitic chants at a demonstration outside of the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, in September.
After an investigation, the US Department of State determined that the couple was not responsible for the chants and it has revoked their visas.
In Washington, where the couple have lived for more than 10 years, the Kranzers have been given a one-week visa extension.
“We are really looking forward to the future,” Sharon Krantza said.
“We are very optimistic that we can move forward together.”
In Jerusalem, Sharon Kranez said she and her husband are taking a break from their travels to try to keep their children occupied with school, which started this week.
“I think we are going to spend some time doing that,” she said.
Kranz said he is taking a month off from his work in the beauty industry and is working to build a new business.
His wife said they are looking to build more businesses with the couple’s family members and friends.
“It is going well, we are just focused on that,” Sharon said.