ELNET brought 17 young promising German and Israeli journalists together to Israel to learn about current challenges and opportunities in Israel and the Middle East. The delegation enabled the young media professionals to experience firsthand how demanding it can be to cover the region and such volatile situations.
This delegation was the first of its kind organized in the framework of The Sylke Tempel Fellowship Program. The program of the German-Israeli Future Forum Foundation (DIZF) is carried out under the patronage of former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, in his role as chairman of the Atlantik Brüke and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign minister, in cooperation with ELNET, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the foreign policy journal IP, the Bar-Ilan University and Women in International Security (WIIS.de).
The delegation included participants of the last three cohorts of the fellowship program. Due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions in the past two years, the delegation could not take place before. The trip was a great opportunity for the fellows to exchange experience and to learn more about German Israeli relations. The program focused on the Israeli media landscape and the challenges that come with reporting about Israel and the Middle East. Background discussions with various Israeli and international journalists and a visit to the i24 News Studio provided background information and new perspectives.
Another highlight of the trip was a panel discussion with the two patrons of the fellowship program. Together with Jeremy Issacharoff, former Ambassador of the State of Israel to Germany, Gabriel and Livni discussed the significance of current geopolitical changes in Europe and the Middle East and the resulting prospects for German Israeli relations.
An excursion to the north of the country to the border with Lebanon and a visit to the Alma Research and Education Center brought the topic of security and the growing threat from Hezbollah into focus. A subsequent round of talks with a Druze, an Arab Christian and the son of a former soldier in the South Lebanese Army shed light on the topic of coexistence and current social challenges, the Jewish state is facing today.
The delegation ended with a visit to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and an outlook on the future of the region. Global challenges such as climate change, which will particularly affect countries in the Middle East, can only be solved together. Thereby, new developments and innovative approaches from the Start-up nation Israel could play an essential role and contribute to cooperation and peace in the region.
The articles of this year’s fellows will soon be published in a special edition of the German journal Internationale Politik and discussed in in a final conference with international experts and policy makers.