Journalists’ report card

December 2, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Journalists who participated in this year’s NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ annual Journalists Study Mission to Israel will report to the community at a public meeting in Sydney next week.

Journalist-Report-BackAs a Holocaust survivor, Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski knew first-hand that ignorance is a key feature of bigotry and hatred. Aware of the power of education to triumph over ignorance, Sabina, along with her son and daughter-in-law Phill and Suzy Wolanski, decided some years ago to support the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ annual Journalists Study Mission to Israel in the hope that greater understanding of the complexities of the Middle East would result in more informed reporting.

Taking part in this year’s mission were Ben English, deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph; Fairfax federal politics editor Bevan Shields; Channel 7 reporter Alex Hart; and Sky News political reporter David Lipson.

Their intensive week-long trip was spent traversing the country and being briefed by senior journalists, diplomats, politicians, peace negotiators and hi-tech entrepreneurs. They travelled as far north as the Syrian border and as far south as the Dead Sea and Gazan border, visiting the Erez crossing into Gaza, where they heard explosions and shooting. Tweeting from a hill near Gaza, Shields described hearing a bang, followed by gunfire. In Sderot, near the Gaza border, the group witnessed the infrastructure and psychological effects of the rocket fire from Gaza and learned about the effectiveness of Israel’s anti-missile Iron Dome system

The journalists visited Yad Vashem and dined at the residence of Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, with three Israeli journalists as his guests. They also travelled to Ramallah in the West Bank, where they were briefed by two representatives of the Palestinian Authority on their perspective of the conflict, and also visited the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Western Wall and the Christian holy sites. On the final day they flew to the northern border, visiting the Ziv Hospital in Sefad, where Syrians wounded in the war are being treated.

The mission was run in conjunction with the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council, which also sent four journalists.

The Board of Deputies Journalists Mission is generously supported by the JCA Haberman Kulawicz Wolanski Fund.

The event will take place on Tuesday December 8.

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