Four Arab journalists who live in Europe and work for major Arabic-language media outlets visited Israel this week and were somewhat surprised to find reality did not match the horrific myths they had been fed all their lives.
“The visit to Israel was exciting and unique. It is a shame that most people in the Arab world are still filled with blind hatred and prejudice toward Israel,” an Iraqi journalist identified as G.M. told Israel’s Ynet news portal.
“This visit to Israel changed the way we think about all of you,” said another of the Arab guests. “We can argue about things, including the Palestinian issue, but we must not fall into the trap of hatred and incitement.”
A third journalist pointed out that the visit had allowed him and his fellow Arab colleagues to “learn things we did not know before. …This trip undoubtedly will allow us to convey a different image of Israel to our readers.”
During the visit, which was organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Arab journalists were taken to the Holocaust Museum Yad VaShem, the Kneesset and the Supreme Court. They were also given opportunities to speak to average Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, on the streets of Israel’s major cities.
The journalists all asked that their names not be publicized for fear that visiting an “enemy” nation could put their jobs, and even their lives, at risk.