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Update – 21 January 2008

Dear Advocates,

Saturday’s Australian featured an article by Greg Sheridan entitled ‘Deep inside the pluckycountry’. This is one of the most fantastic articles I have read in one of our local newspapers, and indeed anywhere, for quite some time.

One of the most thought provoking points made by Sheridan was that ‘the world media makes a mistake by using the same reporters to cover the Palestinian territories as well as Israel.

They can’t do both, and most don’t try to’. What Sheridan does is paint a picture of Israel that is so rarely presented in any forum these days. It is a lengthy article that is well worth your time.

Interestingly, if I may add a personal touch to this mail (blog style), I have been thinking about the Israel that the world has been exposed to recently. I have just spent some time travelling with two Israelis in Byron Bay and surrounded by backpackers from all over the world. It is always interesting to see the reaction of people when my friends tell them they are from Israel.

Our dinner companion, Frank from Holland with a gold crucifix hanging from his neck, was interested to know what it was like to have bombs and bullets flying over your head daily, and whether it is easy to travel through the country if you don’t speak “Israelian” (read: Hebrew).

He was shocked when I told him of my experiences travelling through Israel in 2002 as a volunteer on various Kibbutzim – particularly, that I was one of the only Jews in a sea of Scandinavian, South African and Latin American volunteers. I told him many other stories of my experiences in Israel, to which he replied, ‘well I guess we do not need see any of this good stuff on the 6 o’clock news.’

It occurred to me then how important it was for someone to tell the world stories of Israel exactly like the ones I read in Sheridan’s article only a day or two later.

Another aspect of Israel that almost goes unnoticed in the media is the constant terror that emanating from the Gaza Strip. Please click here to read a briefing guideline from the Ministryof Foreign Affairs entitled ‘Behind the Headlines: Escalation of Terror in Gaza’. MFA reports that ‘since Tuesday (January 16) about 200 Kassam rockets have been fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip at Sderot, Ashkelon and other communities in the western Negev’. Click here to read more.

The media also seems to shy away from some of the more grisly aspects of Israel’s conflict with its neighbours such as the disturbing revelations from Hezbollah’s bloodthirsty leader Hassan Nasrallah – ‘Military sources: Hezbollah has body parts of IDF soldiers’. The choice of editors and journalists to omit news of this man’s ranting is interesting to say the least.

As a part of the “Israel 60 Information Series” the State Zionist Council of Victoria together with the Kew Hebrew Congregation, will be hosting a very special guest – Mark Regev, the Foreign Press and Public Affairs Advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister. He will be speaking on the topic: Israel Update – Post Annapolis. The talk will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 22 January 2008) at 8pm at Norman Smorgon Hall, Kew Hebrew Congregation, 53 Walpole Street, Kew. Click here to view the flyer. I hope you will be able to attend – it is a session not to be missed.

The Israel Advocacy Network Updates will return on a regular basis from next week.To unsubscribe from this email, click here.

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507