Saturday, May 01, 2010

Israel Trip

I've been invited to go on a week long trip to Israel. The trip is being organized to give "progressive" bloggers an opportunity to see Israel, and grapple with some of the issues that plague the region. The entire trip is paid for by a private donor, with the assistance of the CIC. I've accepted the invitation, and we leave tomorrow. There will be five bloggers on the trip, including Jeff Jedras. I'm also told some NDP representation, looking forward to meeting the other participants.

As for the philosophical considerations, I'm approaching this trip with an open mind, although conscience of some underlying motivations. I'll give people a brief rundown of the itinerary. We will be travelling to Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, meeting with people from across the spectrum, including Palestinians. Some fairly heavyweight journalists, Israeli bloggers, tours of the Western Wall,etc.

We will also visit the Knesset, meet with a representative from Foreign Affairs, as well as Einat Wilf from the Labor Party(served as foreign policy advisor to Shimon Peres). We will also meet with the Canadian Ambassador, among other things.

In addition, will travel to the north, visit the Golan Heights, and receive a military briefing from Mt. Bental. We will also visit an observation point, overlooking Southern Lebanon.

The last day looks to be less intense, with a visit to Massada(really excited about that) and the Dead Sea.

There is more, but you get the gist, a very busy schedule, which should be enriching and informative, not to mention fascinating. I go with eyes wide open, no reminders required. People who have followed this blog know my views on certain issues, and I am well aware that the total picture will not be presented in an entirely balanced way. That said, I do look forward to understanding the view from Israel and I suspect it will impact my views somewhat.

On the blogging front, if you saw the itinerary, you'd see that posting might be light to virtually non-existent. I'll try to post, and maybe throw in some shaky, alternative feel video, if able.

Wish me luck, and I'll certainly debrief upon return at the very least :)


Omar said...

You've accepted the invitation, and you leave tomorrow?

Wow. Talk about short notice. How long was this in the works? Where was my invitation? Grumble, grumble..

Steve V said...

Sorry, I accepted a few weeks ago.

Omar said...

Well, I am extremely jealous. The Holy Land has always held a real allure for me and I hope to get there someday. Relish your experience.

Steve V said...

Thanks Omar. Looking forward to it, particularly the history.

Anonymous said...

Gawd Speed. I'm especially interested in Massada.

Skinny Dipper said...

I should have been writing about the poor situation on the French Riviera. I'd like some group to take me on a fact-finding mission there.

Steve V said...

I'm planning a ongoing blogpost series when on Bora Bora when I return.

Tomm said...


Looking forward to your post trip blogs and some of the views you bring back.


Frankly Canadian said...

Good for you Steve, I'll look forward to reading of your trip and in the future how it may influence some of your opinions.

weeble said...

what a fantastic opportunity for dialog. I have taken a number of courses on inter-faith dialog and I always found that you put multiple views in the same room and you come out surprised at your similarities, not your differences. I hope that this provides the same for you.

Jerry Prager said...

See what you get not being a cantankerous old guy like me ?
Don't forget, the Palestinians are Semites too... </;~}#

Steve V said...

Thanks guys.

Dirk Buchholz said...

To bad the Palestinians don't have the resources to help get their side of the story out. Of the two sides the Israeli point of view is definitly not the one that need this kinda of help.
Anyway I hope you manage to talk to ordinary Palestinians,i.e not picked by the sponsors of this trip.
You do realize this program is part of a "new" Israeli propaganda strategy. But rather then just bringing over journalist, politicians,etc they are now going after bloggers & citizen journalist,as they recognize the influence & importance of bloggers,Web 2.0 & the internet.
The goal being,as it has always been, to build support for the Israeli point of view where it matters,i.e in the media,on the internet.
Like as if Israel need help on that front.
Anyway good luck

Steve V said...

You do realize, I addressed this in the post, right? I think I've made my past opinions quite clear over the years, and I'm not naive going in. Some Palestinian exposure, but certainly not the entire picture, which I'm WELL aware of, and that perspective will accompany me on my travels. No worries, I'm not that weak minded, not to mention I'm as stubborn as a mule :) I'm taking this trip for what it is, a terrific opportunity to see a part of the world I've always wanted to visit, and I'll get a more initimate understanding of the Israeli perspective, with a smattering of dissent. Eyes WIDE open.

Malcolm Barry said...

Good luck and keep all informed.