Israel’s Foreign Ministry has begun to reach out to Arab journalists abroad as part of a multi-faceted effort to improve the country’s image and media coverage internationally.
The latest project involved hosting four journalists, of Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian backgrounds, who write from Europe for a various Arabic-language news outlets, including Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Sky News, the BBC Arabic, Deutsche Welle Arabic, and Kitatbat, Ynet reported.
During their visit to Israel, the journalists visited the Holocaust Museum Yad VaShem, the Knesset, and the High Court. They also toured Yerushalayim, met with members of Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and Israeli journalists.
“Our exposure to Israel is welcomed,” said one of the four. “We can argue about things, including the Palestinian issue, but we must not fall into the trap of hatred and incitement. This visit to Israel changed the way we think about all of you.”
“The visit afforded us a deep understanding of the state of Israel,” another said. “We saw official representatives, spoke with ordinary Israelis on the street and learned things we did not know before. We also learned about the social, cultural, ethnic and religious structure of Israel and how it is a pluralistic state. This trip undoubtedly will allow us to convey a different image of Israel to our readers. Would that this could lead to reconciliation between the nations.”
For reasons of personal safety, they asked that their identities not be revealed.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon hailed it as a ground-breaking event.
“Of all the delegations the Ministry has hosted, the Arab journalist delegation is the most important. From our point of view, dialogue with the Arab world is a top priority. We hope that more delegations will arrive soon.”