“It is necessary for diplomatic leaders to receive accurate information regarding Israel and what it deals with on a near daily basis—such as violent terrorist attacks,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said. “This mission provided an informative and vital experience that permitted members of the European Parliament to recognize that Israel is a dynamic and diverse country with a thriving economy.”
The trip, staffed by B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider and Eric Fusfield, deputy director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, allowed participants to immerse themselves in Israel’s culture by touring the Old City of Jerusalem, hearing from Israeli military officers at the Gaza border about the country's unique security challenges and visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial. The delegation also visited wounded victims of the Syrian war at Ziv Hospital and met with Knesset members Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), Anat Berko (Likud) and Nachman Shai (Zionist Union).
The delegation also toured the Israel Museum, visited Kibbutz Magen (located in the northwestern Negev desert), met with Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro of Ariel and visited a plastics factory in the West Bank, where they learned about Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and job creation. Participants discussed religious pluralism in Israel with Christian and Baha'i faith leaders. The mission also included a meeting with key officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the diplomats discussed European Union-Israel relations and the labeling of products made in the West Bank and Golan Heights.
This diplomatic delegation to Israel was made possible by the generous support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.