The first-ever delegation of senior legal advisers and human-rights experts from permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva visited Israel last week to get firsthand insights into the country’s institutions, legal framework, population and civil society sector.
The delegation included representatives of the permanent missions of the United States, Italy, Greece, Uruguay, Paraguay, Kenya and Israel.
They were hosted by the Center for Jewish Impact, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
“The United Nations is a bubble, too often detached from the reality on the ground. Having firsthand experience of Israel is the ideal way to understand the diversity, the complexity, and the beauty of our country,” said Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations and international organizations in Geneva.
“I am convinced that the diplomats who joined this tour will see Israel from a whole different perspective in the future,” she added.
The representatives were given a geopolitical overview of Israel’s security challenges; learned about its institutions and legal system; met with legal experts; and held a roundtable discussion with Israeli civil society leaders.
They visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum and attended a seminar on antisemitism to learn about historical and contemporary manifestations of the world’s oldest hate, particularly from a legal perspective.
“Despite the United Nations’ challenging environment, underscored by the latest Commission of Inquiry report, these diplomats witnessed a side of Israel that inspires hope and showcases the power of resilience,” said Robert Singer, chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact.
“We showed them Israel that they might otherwise never see, and I think it was an impactful experience for them, which we hope they will use in their professional work,” he said.
Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of CAM, said, “This transformative experience highlighted Israel’s diversity and its own mechanisms that underscore its strengths and the Jewish state’s efforts to improve. We also impressed on them the importance of fighting antisemitism and how it permeates so much debate about Israel across the globe.”