UK and Germany State Parliamentarian Delegation to Israel April 7-11, 2024

ELNET Israel hosted a delegation in April (7-11) comprised of UK and German State Parliamentarians on a solidarity mission through Israel. The goal of the trip was to raise awareness to the ongoing and escalating security situation, as well as to highlight the positive advancements Israel is making in its economy and healthcare innovations.

On Sunday evening April 7th, the delegation commenced with the arrival of UK and German participants in Israel. They were welcomed by Ms. Ruth Wasserman, Former MK, Former Chairman of Abraham Accords Caucus. An opening dinner provided an opportunity for an initial exchange of views and set the stage for the upcoming detailed engagements.

The day began on Monday the 8th of April with a security briefing from an IDF Spokesperson, shedding light on Israel’s strategic and security concerns. This was followed by visits to crucial locations such as the Erez border crossing and Kfar Aza, where participants received firsthand accounts of the October 7th attacks, deepening their understanding of the regional challenges. They also visited the site of the Nova Music Festival Massacre, witnessing firsthand the horrors of that day. The evening concluded with a dinner featuring Dr. Emmanuel Navon, CEO of ELNET-Israel, International Relations Expert at Tel-Aviv University where the group was able to recount their experiences from the day and learn more about Israel’s political landscape in the wake of October 7th.

On Tuesday April 9th,  the delegation met with Dr. Joerg Walendy, Deputy Head of Mission of Germany to Israel, Mr. Jacob Jones, head of communications and Mr. Sam Sayer, leads on MEPP from the British Embassy in Israel. Later they attended the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv and participated in a panel discussion titled, “Germany, UK, Spain, Israel, and Norway – An International Dialogue of Cyber Leaders on the Greatest Cyber Challenges for 2024”. They interacted with leading experts and key figures such as Jonathan Fischbein, Chief Information Security Officer at Check Point

The group visited the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, the umbrella organization of all municipalities and local councils in Israel, focusing on innovation in urban planning and municipal resilience and followed this with a visit to Tel Aviv Global, a municipal leading international business center that specializes in innovation. Afterwards the participants attended a briefing by Ms. Michal Michaeli, International Economic Development Director at Tel Aviv Global & Tourism and Mr. Aviad Heilbrun, Director of core systems development of the Tel Aviv – Yafo Municipality, on positioning the city of Tel Aviv as a global hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. The day concluded with powerful testimonies from the families of hostages held in Gaza at Hostage Square, providing the delegates with a poignant insight into the ongoing human impact of the war.

On Wednesday 10th April the day was marked by a series of high-level briefings at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and important visits to the Knesset, where they met with various Israeli lawmakers. Here, important meetings were held with Amb. Daniel Meron, Deputy Director – Europe, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a strategic briefing with Amb. Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Ambassador of Israel to Belgium and Luxembourg. The delegation also toured significant cultural sites in Jerusalem, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre and historic sites in the Old City, enhancing their cultural and historical awareness. That night MK Shelly Tal Meron, Member of the Knesset, Advocate for Education and Social Equality, joined the deletants at dinner.

The final day, Thursday, April 11th, was dedicated to exploring innovations in healthcare, including a visit to the ARC Innovation Centre at Sheba Hospital. This session highlighted Israel’s leading edge in medical technology and explored potential collaborations in healthcare innovation, emphasizing the country’s significant contributions to global health advancements. Following their visit to ARC, the delegation proceeded to the Sheba Rehabilitation Center, where numerous wounded soldiers are currently undergoing recovery from the ongoing war. This poignant visit offered participants the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from the battlefield, exchange perspectives, and return to their home country with a deeper understanding of the Israeli situation since October 7th.

The delegation’s visit concluded with a renewed understanding of Israel’s complex security landscape and its ongoing efforts in the war as well as advancements in technology and healthcare. These insights will undoubtedly enhance the cooperative efforts between the UK, Germany, and Israel, fostering stronger bilateral relations and continued partnership in addressing both regional challenges and global innovations.