Top Israeli journalist to address UIA events across the country

February 28, 2018 by Hila Tsor
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J-Wire talks to Israeli television and print journalist Alon Ben-David, the keynote speaker at  United Israel Appeal (UIA) events in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Alon Ben-David

Ben-David is currently a senior defence correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10. During his distinguished career he has reported on various crucial events in the Middle East including  the First and Second Intifadas, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the disengagement from Gaza, Israel’s long war in Lebanon and the recent Gaza conflicts.

Ben-David’s career, spreading over the past three decades, has made him exceptionally knowledgeable on the region. His personal perspective, stemming from his journalistic experiences, is both unique and insightful regarding Israel’s climate.

Moving away from the conventional discussions of threats that exist around Israel, Ben-David plans to speak about the vast opportunities available in Israel at his presentations.

J-Wire asked Ben-David about his opinion on Israel’s present and future, as well as his personal experiences as a high profile journalist.

 

JW: You lecture worldwide on issues relating to the Middle East, what specially do you think is important to emphasis to a diaspora audience?

ABD: That Israel is strong and currently there is no existential threat on it. Yet, it still faces delegitimisation like no other country and a potential future threat by Iran. We need the support of our Jewish diaspora to raise a voice against this delegitimisation, urge their governments to follow the US and after recognise our capital. There is no other country that the world doesn’t recognise its capital and after 70 years – it’s about time. Also, we need support  in amending the Iran nuclear deal, which has given Iran a license to become a nuclear power in a decade. That will certainly not contribute to peace.

JW: Netanyahu said this week that Israel is willing to go to war with Iran. Do you see this war as a realistic possibility? If so, what type of war do you think it will be?

ABD: Iran is engaged in war with Israel for three decades, using proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Now that Iran is coming closer to our borders – they should understand that when launching attacks on Israel – they will not stay immune. Although Israel doesn’t seek any confrontation – it is willing to claim a price from anyone who attacks it.

JW: How do you view Israel’s current security policies and do you believe that they should to be strengthened?

ABD: I believe that Israel is conducting an efficient campaign (mostly covert) against Iranian expansion in the region and against the supply of advanced capabilities to Hezbollah and Hamas. However, Israel is lacking essential strategy vis-a-vis Gaza and the West Bank. Israel should decide what are its interests in those areas and act accordingly.

JW: Do you see Trump’s presidency thus far as a positive asset to Israel?

ABD: In the overall balance – yes. Trump’s fixing the long time wrong of not recognising Jerusalem and it’s efforts to fight against the singling out of Israel in the UN are very important. Also, his position on the Iran might fix that bad deal. But he has also departed from the Middle East, allowing Russia and Iran to call the shots on Syria – which is bad news for us.

JW: What has it been like reporting on such an intense, ongoing conflict for so many years?

ABD: It makes you feel old, with all the horrific things I saw throughout the years. You tend to feel immune to dangers, but then you lose friends and realise that your press card is no shield against fire. But despite seeing the unperceivable brutality of some our neighbours, I still believe we can find a way to secure our existence in this turbulent region.

JW:   Was there a part of the overall ongoing conflict in Israel which, at any stage, you found it particularly difficult to report on, given that conflict is happening in the country you reside?

ABD: Unlike reporters who cover other people’s wars, when I’m covering a war in Israel – I’m covering it mostly from the Israeli side. When rockets are fired – they are also fired at my family. I do not pretend to be neutral. It doesn’t make me blind to flaws and wrongdoings by my side – but I want my side to win. Always, in any conflict.

JW: Do you have any advice for young journalists who are interested on reporting in the same field?

ABD: Always be on the scene. It’ll make your report much more effective. Try to engage as many people as possible and create contacts – it could be the driver or the person in the kitchen who would give you a great story. And above all – stay curious. Without the desire to know and to learn you can’t really be a good journalist

JW: You have covered all major events in the region during the last three decades, what to do you see as to the future of Israel in regards to the peace process?

ABD: Unfortunately, the word peace has been taken out of the Israeli vocabulary. Most Israelis don’t believe they’ll live to see peace between Israel and Palestine. However, the current changes in the region opened up new partnerships for Israel and the Sunni countries. This relations are mostly discrete today but if Israel would try to reach an agreement with the Palestinians – not necessarily final agreement – that would pave the way for peace with additional Arab countries.

Alon Ben-David will speak at:

UIA NSW:

Women’s Division Gala Event – Sunday 11 March, 6.30pm in Sydney CBD

Bookings: http://bit.ly/2AVUvtj

For more information contact: (02) 9361 4273, info@uiansw.org.au

 UIA VIC:

Women’s Division Brunch – Wednesday 7 March, 10am in Melbourne (SOLD OUT)

For more information contact: (03) 9272 5533, info@uiavic.org

 

Community Afternoon Tea – Thursday 8 March, 2.00pm in Melbourne

Bookings: http://bit.ly/2Gy2iQx

For more information contact: (03) 9272 5533, info@uiavic.org

 

UIA WA:

Women’s Division Dinner – Wednesday 14 March, 6.30pm in Perth

Bookings: http://bit.ly/2CgPU4S

For more information contact:  (08) 9275 1186, info@uiawa.org.au

 

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