Journalists report back

October 18, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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More than 300 community members heard reports by eight senior journalists who recently toured Israel in a delegation led by the CEO of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Vic Alhadeff.

Brad Clifton Photo: Noel Kessel

The Journalists Mission was sponsored by the JCA Haberman Kulawicz & Wolanski Fund.

The audience at Sydney’s The Jewish Museum heard the Mission visited the Dead Sea, Yad Vashem, refugee camps, the borders of Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the city of Ramallah. Highlights included Shabbat at the Western Wall and an archaeological tour of the Old City of Jerusalem 

Journalists had the opportunity to meet with key senior individuals from the political spectrum, as well as military and security authorities and leaders of peace initiatives.

James Chessell, Group executive editor in the Nine Network, publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age said: “The experience blew my mind. It’s an honest trip. These trips have mythic stature in the journalism world.”

The editor of Weekend Australian’s Inquirer, Georgina Windsor told the audience: “The trip broadened both my head and my heart.”

Chris O’Keefe, the senior political journalist at Channel Nine, added: “I’m a far more rounded person and reporter as a result of this trip.”

“It was an eye-opening, exhilarating and deeply moving experience,” reported Brad Clifton, the Day Editor at The Daily Telegraph.

Also on the mission were:

James Taylor – Managing Director, SBS

Natasha Squarey – Senior Reporter on Channel Seven

Amie Meehan – Afternoons and Drive Editor/Newsreader 2GB & 2UE on Ben Fordham’s Drivetime show

Kaycie Bradford – News Editor on Sky News.

NSWJBD’s Melissa McCurdie and Georgina Windsor   Photo: Noel Kessel

In her address, Georgina Windsor said: “We were briefed on the key geopolitical issues of the region such as the ongoing Palestinian situation, the concern over Iran and Syria, not to mention Lebanon and growing support for Hezbollah and Hamas. No question was off the table and everyone was free and frank in their assessments.  

To to travel to Sderot, and listen to the people running the Sderot Media Centre about life in the city, where rocket attacks are a daily clear and present danger and see Iron Dome in a nearby field – thankfully not in active use – with mandatory bomb shelters in every home and even in children’s playgrounds then travel to the Gaza Strip just a few kilometres away was a sobering experience. As was the trip to the northern borders of Syria and Lebanon where the excellent security expert from Alma, managed to condense hundreds of years of conflict and bloodshed into a series of maps and religious affiliations to bring home the reality of the situation. And his blunt assessment that the situation with the Kurds in northern Syria and Turkey was the most pressing potential flashpoint and humanitarian disaster in the region has sadly been borne out in the past two weeks.”

James Taylor   Photo: Noel Kessel

The group was hosted by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a special dinner.

Georgina Windsor added: “The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is not a happy place to visit, but it’s one that will always stay in my heart. It was an honour to be graced with not only our guide’s personal links to the Holocaust but also Vic, Phil and Suzy’s family stories as well, it made the experience even more real. It’s world-class in the way it is presented, we all came out in tears, and more than lives up to its mission to be the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust. I’m rarely lost for words but that was one experience you had to feel not describe.”

Vic Alhadeff commended the participants for “being willing to immerse themselves intellectually, emotionally and even spiritually in an issue on the other side of the world. It was very encouraging to hear what the journalists learned from the trip and how that would inform their reporting, moving forward.”

Comments

One Response to “Journalists report back”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    With so much media bias and/or disinterest in factual, in depth coverage of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinian/Israel conflict, this kind of project is of the utmost importance. Thanks to all who made it possible.

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