In March 2022, ELNET UK hosted its first ever delegation, taking 7 senior and influential broadcast and print journalists from across the political spectrum to Israel, in order to deepen their understanding of its strengths and challenges.
Utilizing ELNET’s extensive access to the highest levels of political leaders, briefings and locations, we were able to provide our delegates with a unique experience which covered a vast variety of issues. Key amongst them was the threat of Iran, the impact of the Abraham Accords and the strengthening reality of coexistence.
During the delegation’s visit, two major events took place which added to the impact of the visit: the Negev Summit with Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Morocco and the beginnings of a new wave of terror attacks in Israel.
The delegation started their visit with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, providing them with an understanding of the history and the complexities of the city and its holy sites, and its importance to all three monotheistic religions. The delegation then headed to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to meet with Amb. Joshua Zarka, Head of the Strategic Department, who’s portfolio covered Iran, non-proliferation, WMD production, counter terrorism, arms control and cyber security. Later that day, the delegates also met with Yoaz Hendel, Minister of Communications.
Traveling by helicopter with the former IDF International Spokesman Jonathan Conricus, the delegation visited Israel’s northern border with Lebanon where they received a detailed briefing on Hezbollah and its dramatically increased military capabilities as the most well-armed non-state actor in the world, and the impact any future attack would have on Israel even with the Iron Dome.
Travelling south, the delegation visited an Iron Dome battery on the border with Gaza, close to Sderot, where they were greeted by the Head of the Iron Dome Program at the IDF Missile Defense Agency.
The delegation received briefings from International Institute for Counter Terrorism the International Institute for Counter Terrorism Founder Professor Boaz Ganor and Dr Ely Karmon, Senior Research Scholar. They also visited Start Up Nation Central for a briefing outlining Israel’s unique innovative ecosystem, and how it went from an agriculture-based society to the innovation creator it is today.
The Journalists also met with UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan where they discussed the UK/Israel trade agreement, the JCPOA and the UK’s role in negotiations, Ukraine, Syria and Russia’s influence and the UK’s priorities for its relationship with Israel.
Finally, the journalists had the opportunity to hold talks with Foreign Policy expert, Emanuel Navon; and with Jonathan Spyer, Executive Director, Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.