“This visit to Israel is like touring a dreamland,” said a visiting journalist from an Arab country. “If only we would be able to bring hundreds of people from our countries so that when they go back, they can tell what they saw and felt.”
By World Israel News Staff
A delegation of journalists and media personalities from Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt, visited the Knesset and met with MK Avi Dichter, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, who speaks fluent Arabic and has previously headed Israel’s Security Agency.
Among those countries, only Jordan and Egypt have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. The journalists are in Israel at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry.
“This visit to Israel is like touring a dreamland,” one member of the delegation told Dichter. “If only we would be able to bring hundreds of people from our countries so that when they go back, they can tell what they saw and felt.”
During the meeting, which was conducted in Arabic, Dichter said Jerusalem has decided to move forward with contacts in the Arab world, first and foremost with Saudi Arabia, “and not to wait until the Palestinian Authority decides to fight terrorism.”
Dichter stressed that the Palestinian Authority is continuing with its “pay-for-slay” policy, paying salaries to terrorists and their families that amount to more than a billion shekels a year.
Shai Cohen, the Knesset’s diplomatic adviser, told the delegation that the Knesset is interested in forging ties with parliaments of Arab states. “We separate between progress on the peace process with the Palestinians and deepening our ties with the moderate Arab world,” he said.
Palestinians in Jerusalem assault Saudi visitor
Later in the day, Saudi law student and blogger Mahmoud Saud, a member of the delegation, was attacked by Muslim Palestinian residents of the Old City of Jerusalem while visiting the Temple Mount.
Footage of the attack showed residents calling him a “traitor” and an “animal” and branding him a “Zionist,” as small boys approached him and spat in his face. Another video clip showed plastic chairs and sticks being thrown at him as he entered the market in the Old City.
Saud was rescued and left the area unharmed, the Foreign Ministry said.
“We strongly condemn the cruel and immoral behavior of some Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa Mosque toward a Saudi media personality who came to Jerusalem to be a bridge to peace and understanding between peoples,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nizar Amer wrote on Twitter.
“A disgusting welcome,” tweeted Ohad Nakash Kaynar, a deputy spokesperson.