Top British journalists to visit Israel

Pro-Israel lobby brings delegation of senior journalists from BBC, Sky, 'Times' to Sderot.

EL AL plane 2 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
EL AL plane 2 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
A UK-based pro-Israel lobby will bring a delegation of senior journalists from major media outlets to Israel on Sunday. Fourteen editors and senior journalists will visit for six days - including senior editorial staff from the Times, Independent and Sun newspapers and broadcasters from the BBC and Sky News, in a trip organized by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) to show them events from Israel's point of view. Many of the journalists have written on the Middle East for years, but are visiting Israel for the first time. All play a large part in determining the editorial policy at their respective organizations. "We know that the best way of getting journalists to better understand Israel's perspective is to actually put them on planes and get them out there," said Lorna Fitzsimons, BICOM's chief executive. "People tend to understand things quite differently when they have a chance to see things for themselves. The group will be based at the 8th annual Herzliya Conference and will travel around the country speaking to politicians, journalists and analysts. Meetings are planned with Deputy Premier Haim Ramon and senior policy advisors to the Defense Ministry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prime Ministers Office who are involved with the negotiations with the Palestinians. The visitors will also meet with Palestinian businessmen who are trying to resurrect the Palestinian economy, in Ramallah. "Our message is that a strong independent Palestinian state could, given the right conditions, actually help improve Israel's security in the long-run," Fitzsimons said. A helicopter tour that will show them Israel's narrow waistline, the proximity of Sderot to Gaza and the route of the security barrier will also be put on for the delegation. BICOM will also bring the journalists to Sderot to meet families who have had their lives disrupted by the rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. "For the first time ever, we will be taking this group to Sderot to show them just what Israelis have to endure every single day," Fitzsimons said. "Hopefully they will see and really comprehend just how grave the threat coming from Gaza is - a threat that unfortunately often doesn't get taken seriously enough here in the UK."