The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem hosted a group of 11 senior journalists from Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay and Chile for a weeklong visit to Israel. Educator Gabriel Ben-Tasgal led the mission. Josef Gabriel, president of B’nai B’rith Costa Rica and vice chair of B’nai B’rith District 23, and Grace Agosin, a representative of the Chilean Jewish community, also joined the mission.
Following the success of the first mission of Latin American journalists hosted by the World Center in September 2019, journalists were identified and invited by B’nai B’rith chapters in each participating country. The mission itinerary included visits to Jerusalem’s Old City, Masada, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Baháʼí World Center, Yad Vashem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Gaza border communities and Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon. Encounters were held with members of Israel’s Arab, Aramean Christian, Druze and Alawite Muslim communities. Concluding just two days before Israel’s general election, the mission focused on Israel’s vibrant democracy and freedom of the press, its diverse population and strategic challenges facing the country.
Speakers included: Lior Hayat, head of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate; Oded Ravivi, mayor of Efrat; Ambassador Jonathan Peled, Foreign Ministry deputy director general and head of the Latin American and Caribbean Division; Lior Ben Dor, director of Egypt and Maghreb Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Middle East expert Jana Beris; Professor Michel Strawczynski, director of the Research Department at the Bank of Israel and professor of economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; IDF Major Nechemya Burkey; and Middle East experts Mordechai Kedar and Eli Carmon.
The mission delegates also visited leading Israeli start-ups ReWalk (robotics), Fresh Start (foodtech) and Watergen (water from air); Sindianat Hagalil (a joint Jewish-Arab women’s nonprofit organization that aims to further ties between the two sectors); and IsraAID, Israel’s largest international humanitarian aid organization, founded in cooperation with B’nai B’rith.
Like the first mission of Latin American journalists hosted by B’nai B’rith in Israel, this mission was geared to facilitating live and recorded reporting by the participants to share to their extensive social media following.