New York, NY, November 16, 2011 … A group of influential Latino and Latin American editors, publishers, producers and reporters from the United States, Bolivia, Chile and Venezuela were brought to Israel by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on a mission designed to give Spanish-language journalists a fuller understanding of Israeli society, culture, politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The 17 participants in the ADL Latino and Latin American Journalists Mission to Israel returned this week after having spent eight days traveling in Israel, November 6-14, visiting places of religious, political and historical importance and meeting with Palestinians, Arab Israelis, Bedouins, Holocaust survivors, members of the Knesset and representatives from the Israeli government.
Among the participants in the mission were journalist and former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, Henrik Rehbinder, national news editor of La Opinion, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the U.S. and Fernando Diaz, Managing Editor, Hoy Chicago. The mission also included Hispanic journalists from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.
"This mission was critically important because the Spanish-language media in the United States and Latin America is the most influential source of news and information for Spanish speakers about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and plays such an important role in shaping public opinion about Israel and the region," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It was an unprecedented opportunity for these prominent journalists to learn firsthand about the complexities surrounding the Arab-Israel conflict, to better understand the history and the current security situation, and to learn about Israel's culture, diversity and democratic institutions."
The journalists traveled to important Christian and Jewish holy sites and traveled to various cities including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Safed, the Golan Heights and Sderot. They toured the Knesset, the old city of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem and the security fence that separates Israel and the West Bank.
In the southern Negev city of Sderot, the Latino journalists were briefed by Israeli Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld and were given a helicopter tour over the center of Israel in coordination with The Israel Project's Spanish Media Program. They also heard from Eshkol Regional Council Chief Haim Yalin, a native of Argentina, about the challenges facing residents in the south who live in range of constant rocket fire from terrorists in Gaza.
The group also had an opportunity to visit the Bialik Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, featured in the recent Oscar award-winning documentary, "Strangers No More" and to speak with its director, teachers and students of Latin American heritage.
News organizations represented on the mission include Globovision Venezuela, Hoy Chicago, La Raza, KUVN Univision Dallas, Boston Latino TV, Univision, and La Opinion.