Rambam report

September 14, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Professor John Blaxland, Peter Kurti and Mark Ludlow briefed an AIJAC supporters in Sydney on their experienceson their return from an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam program trip as part of an August eight person academic/media group to Israel and the Palestinian territories, accompanied by AIJAC’s Associate Director of Public Affairs Joel Burnie.

Professor John Blaxland, Colin Rubenstein, Peter Kurti, Jeremy Jones, Mark Ludlow, Joel Burnie

All three participants discussed what is was like to visit Sderot during the recent severe flare-up of violence between Hamas and Israel, when more than 150 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza, giving them a greater appreciation of the security situation and the reality on the ground as opposed to misleading headlines.

Blaxland, a professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies, Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University and the Director at the Southeast Asia Institute, said that despite his extensive background in military and strategic affairs, it was essential to actually see the situation up close and gain a more nuanced understanding of the complex issues involved. He discussed the problematic way the conflict is discussed in the media, noting he was able to experience the events in real time as he watched distorted reporting. He also gained a greater appreciation of the Jewish historical and religious attachment to Jerusalem and Israel after visiting the City of David archeological site.

Peter Kurti, a Senior Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies and prominent media commentator, spoke about the diverse range of views he heard and the area experts and political figures in both the Palestinian territories and Israel that he was briefed by as part of the program. Aside from what he learned about intra-Palestinian relations and the overall situation, he also gained a greater appreciation for the meaning of home, identity, and immigration as it relates to Jews, Arabs and Israel, noting the visit to Yad Vashem was a particular highlight.

Mark Ludlow, the Brisbane Bureau Chief and Queensland Political Correspondent for The Australian Financial Review, focused on his impressions of the Palestinian territories and interactions with Palestinians. As a journalist, he was able to discuss in more detail the way events are reported in Israel, and how complex the situation actually is. Ludlow also discussed the cultural diversity of Jerusalem and the surprising variety of opinions he encountered.

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