An important part of Honest Reporting’s mission is giving people the skills to evaluate news content about Israel. They do that by monitoring the media and responding to problematic media coverage. They also host “missions”––week-long events where people come to Israel to learn media evaluation skills and see what’s really going on “on the ground.”
The December 2019 Mission exposed more than two-dozen people from Australia, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. to sides of Israel most people don’t see.
Here’s a sample of some of the presenters I heard with links in case you want to learn more about them.
Fleur Hassan-Nahoun, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem. Given that most of the Arab and Haredi (orthodox Jewish) communities in Jerusalem live in poverty, Hassan-Nahoun is involved in developing programs designed to increase access for both groups to educational programs that can lead to higher paying jobs.
Sulaiman Khatib, co-founder of Combatants for Peace. After serving ten and a half years in an Israeli prison for a knife attack he committed at age 14, Khatib came out a different person. Today, he’s dedicated to peace activism.
Rev. Dr. Petra Heldt: A Lutheran minister who has lived in Israel for 30 years, Heldt helped us understand the attitude different Christian groups have towards Israel. I’ll post a separate column on what I learned from her in a week or two.
Khaled Abu Toameh: An Israeli-Arab who reports on the Palestinian territories, Toameh gave us a realistic understanding of the forces at play in Gaza and the West Bank. He explained why in his opinion Israel is not in a bad place right now with regard to both hostile neighbors.
Ihab Zeidan: A Druze tour guide who spent 14 years in the IDF, Zeidan helped us understand what distinguishes the Druze religion from other Islamic sects. He also helped me understand why the Druze people felt betrayed by the Nation State Basic Law.
Amna Kanana: An Arab woman who took it upon herself to start to bring Jewish and Arab women together as well as encouraging Arab women to get educated and have careers before they marry.
We also heard from a woman who was born in Ethiopia who came to Israel at age 16 and who today is a radio and TV journalist. Given that Ethiopian immigrants have at times protested that they have not been treated fairly, it was good to hear someone present a positive report about her experience.
In Part III of my report, I’ll focus on the lessons imparted by Honest Reporting’s staff with regard to fighting media bias.