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Knesset to host seven Arab journalists living in Europe

Egyptian, Lebanese, Algerian and ‎Moroccan journalists working for media outlets in France, Egypt and Belgium are set to visit Israel as part of initiative by Israeli Embassy in Paris • Knesset speaker hopes the visit will contribute to how Arab media views Israel.

The Knesset Plenary Hall during speeches ahead of the vote on the National Law, which will enforce the foundation of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, on July 18, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
The Knesset Plenary Hall during speeches ahead of the vote on the National Law, which will enforce the foundation of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, on July 18, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, is preparing to host seven Arab ‎journalists living in Europe in an effort to open communication lines, Israel Hayom has ‎learned.

The journalists are Egyptian, Lebanese, Algerian and ‎Moroccan nationals employed by the i24 news ‎network, Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly and other Arabic-‎language media outlets in France and Belgium.‎

They are scheduled to visit the Knesset as part of an initiative ‎promoted by the Israeli Embassy in Paris. ‎

Journalist Nader ‎Allouche, whose father is Lebanese and mother is ‎Algerian, explained why he decided to accept ‎the embassy’s invitation in a recent article in the Huffington ‎Post Maghreb, an online publication popular in ‎Morocco, Algeria and ‎Tunisia.

The piece was titled “Why I agreed to go to Israel: ‎The Arabs’ ‎revival will begin with the willing and ‎earnest ‎recognition of Israel.”

In it, Allouche wrote that ‎his education “did not allow me to consider Israel ‎as a fait accompli. It was like a thorn stuck in my ‎foot—something difficult to remove, but something ‎we have no doubt that we can remove because ‎demographics are in our favor.”

He said the geopolitical ‎situation in the Middle East required a review of ‎this position. ‎

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein welcomed the ‎initiative, saying, “We invite these journalists to see ‎firsthand the beating heart of the only true ‎democracy in the Middle East.‎ If this contributes to any change, as small as it may ‎be, in the way Arab media views Israel, that would ‎be enough.”

The delegation will be hosted by Knesset Labor, ‎Welfare and Health Committee chairman MK Elie ‎Elalouf (Kulanu Party). The visitors will meet with ‎Regional Cooperation Minister Tzahi Hanegbi and other Israeli officials. ‎

The journalists are also slated to visit the Peres ‎Center for Peace and Innovation.‎

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