B’nai B’rith hosted 14 journalists from Latin America in Israel, leading them through a diverse and intensive program.
It was the third time (after trips in 2019 and 2022) that the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem teamed up with B’nai B’rith Latin America to host journalists for a week-long tour organized and led by Director of Hatzad Hasheni Gabriel Ben Tagal.
Hailing from 10 countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama—the delegation visited Israel’s borders. At the Keren Shalom gate at the Gaza border, they learned about the trade of goods at the Gaza border. They saw a Hezbollah tunnel discovered in 2019 at the Lebanese border and heard from an Israeli officer watching the border from the field. At the Golan Heights they gained an understanding of what watching that border means today.
The group visited Alma—a research and education center investigating strategic developments along Israel’s northern border. They were briefed by Alma founder and President Sarit Zahavi, a lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps reserves and Shadi Khalloul, founder and chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association and director of strategic partnerships at Alma who discussed integration of indigenous Christians into Israeli society and showed the group the Maronite Church in Biram and their effort to build Jewish-Christian relations.
The journalists visited and learned about all the Jerusalem neighborhoods: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. In addition, they visited the Temple Mount, the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem’s Old City and the Holy Sepulchre. They also visited the Mount of the Beatitudes and its church, and the Mount of Olives.
In addition, the group met with Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli and the Minister of Justice Yariv Levin for wide ranging discussions focusing on the government’s judicial reform plan.
At Israel’s parliament the journalists met two Members of Knesset of the opposition, Alon Shuster and Meirav Ben Ari. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they discussed current issues with Director for Latin American Affairs Jonathan Peled and Ambassadors Lior Hayat and Matty Cohen.
An important part of the trip was seeing first-hand Israel’s innovation and high-tech expertise. At Ariel Sharon Park in Tel Aviv, they learned how to transform a 100-year-old garbage dump into a great natural park. At Watergen they learned how water is made from air. At Igudan they saw how water is recycled and sent to tens of cities. At Cyrebro, they saw a company that is expert in the field of cyber security. At Xtra Lite, they saw work in lithium and at Kaymera, they saw expertise in new cell phone technologies.
The journalists had a touching two-hour experience at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. They also went to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, and they visited the settlement of Efrat. The mission ended at the anti-judicial reform demonstration on July 8 where the participants interviewed demonstrators.
The journalists received briefings on all aspects of current Israeli reality and the region in general. They were able to ask questions and file reports in real time about terrorism, Iran, the Abraham Accords and judicial reform proposals.
B’nai B’rith was pleased to organize and implement this high-level mission. Director for Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn and World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider summed up the mission saying, “Its success proved again that there is no better way to grasp the complexities and successes of the State of Israel than by visiting its sites and meeting its people and leaders candidly. This is what we strived to accomplish with this and earlier missions, and this is what we will do in the future.”