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Holy Land Press Junket Alert!

UPDATE: You do all realize the part about being drunk all week is a joke, right? And that I’m a vegetarian teetotaler who travels with her yoga mat? Anyway, for anyone who didn’t get that, it’s a joke. I’m the only journalist on the planet who locates the local Muay Thai gym before she locates the bar. Go on, ask anyone who’s met me. 

***

We’ve got an exciting week coming up here on Ricochet–we’re taking Ricochet to the Holy Land! That’s right, your Turkey correspondent’s been invited on a press junket to Israel, where she’ll be hooking up with Ricochet’s Permanent Holy Land Correspondent Judith Levy and our Pro-tem Holy Land Correspondent Mollie Hemmingway. Hosted by Act for Israel, together we’ll be live-blogging, filming, and podcasting the entire week. 

Here are some of the events on our schedule. Questions for any of the people we’ll be talking to? Things you’d like us to see and do? You ask, we’ll investigate. It will be as if you’re right there with us, especially when we go to the hotel spa together and comp it to Ricochet–right, Logo? Dead Sea Mud Mask Facial, here we come! 

We’ll be meeting Gilad Shalit’s parents on Sunday, then touring Givaat Zeev and Maale Edumim, which are settlements in disputed Jerusalem neighborhoods. After that we’ll meet the IDF Central Command spokesman. 

Then, because this is a press junket, we’ll be getting drunk. 

On Monday, we’ll be going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We’ll speak to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the prime minister’s Deputy of Communication, Mark Regev, where I plan to ask the all-important question, “Hey, why don’t any of you communications whizzes speak Turkish? Haven’t you noticed that this is the language Turkish people speak?” I am coming back with an answer to that question, folks, and if they think Hamas is persistent, they haven’t seen Claire Berlinski when she gets in a lather about Israeli communication policy.

Then we’ll have an overview briefing of the Iranian threat. After lunch, we’ll be visiting JVP, a communication and animation startup (I may skip that so better to communicate what I learned in the morning with you, my Ricochet readers). Then we’ll visit Teva, Israel’s largest pharmaceutical company. 

And then, because this is a press junket, we’ll be getting drunk.

On Tuesday, we’ll be heading to Tel Aviv and the Weisman Institute for an overview of their latest medical innovations. Then we’ll be checking out Shai Agassi’s electric car factory, which I’m told is the highlight of the trip. If we can pull it off, we’ll podcast the whole thing, with video. After lunch, we have a briefing at the International Center for Counter Terrorism. 

Then, because this is a press junket, we’ll be getting drunk.

flickr-484111583-hd.jpgOn Wednesday, we’ll be heading north toward Hezbollahland for a briefing with IDF Spokesman Yair Dotz and an overview of Israel’s Northern border. Then they’ve got us scheduled to see a soap factory, which they swear is interesting but which I may skip, because how could that be interesting? But who knows, I do have a thing for nice soap. The lure of soap samples could well rope me in.

Then we’re off to see something listed in the schedule as a Druze village. I suspect the point of this is to show journalists that Israel’s not just about Jews, so I may skip it, because I’m convinced of that already.

Did I tell you that I used to hang out in this neighborhood a lot when I was a teenager? I worked on a Kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee one summer, long ago, so this will be a little walk down memory-lane for me. Splendor in the grass and all that. I may go on my own little sentimental journey. 

Then, because I’ll be all melancholy–and because this is a press junket–we’ll be getting drunk.

Finally, on Thursday, we’ll be touring the Sea of Galilee (I used to water-ski there, which is a very ancient historic tradition, you may recall.) I may skip that too because I’ve done that, and let’s face it, at my age you need to recover from all that drinking. I’ll probably just catch up on sleep.

After lunch we’ll go to Kibbutz Beit Oren, which was devastated during the December fires, to learn more about the recovery efforts. 

And then, because this is a press junket, we’ll be getting drunk.

So join us in Israel, Ricochet! Leave your questions and comments here, and remember, this trip is your trip: It’s a press junket, so the whole point is for us to find the answers to any questions you might have about Israel. Don’t be shy–we’re off to the land that tact forgot. You ask, we’ll report–loudly, without caring who we offend.  

See you at the bar!

  1. Israel P.

     Welcome to Jerusalem. 

    And go to Hevron.  Insist on it. You will learn many things that will surprise you.

  2. sierra

    Just an FYI, here in America the phrase “hooking up” can no longer be used.

  3. Kennedy Smith

     It’s the Unapology Tour.  I suppose a live drunk-blog is out of the question?  (“OMG, this guy is pretending to be a Coptic refugee for sympathy.  He’s soooo not Coptic, but he’s buying.  Now he’s getting grabby.  Ugh!”).

  4. Robert Bennett

    That picture is just awesome.

  5. KC Mulville

    I confess my envy. Database guys don’t have junkets.

  6. Ursula Hennessey
    C

    Dying to hear about the swag bags.

  7. Pseudodionysius

    Then, because I’ll be all melancholy–and because this is a press junket–we’ll be getting drunk.

    The legendary Ricochet asceticism is inspiring to all of us.

  8. Pseudodionysius

    Marie-Armelle Beaulieu of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land wrote this back in 2009 – hat tip to Phil Lawler of Catholic Culture:

    Fifteen years after the Fundamental Agreement came into force (March 10, 1994) and ten years after the coming into force of the “Legal Personality Agreement” (February 3, 1999), these negotiations [on fiscal and property matters] are not yet concluded. Not only that, but the treaties that have been signed and ratified, have still not been legislated by the Israeli parliament, and therefore cannot be enforced by the Israeli courts, which greatly limits their practical significance.

    My question: Where do things stand now? I realize that for obvious reasons Jewish-Christian tensions in the Holy Land aren’t front page news, but I wonder if Judith has any insights as to why there is such a long delay.

  9. Mark Monaghan

    I’m thinking a job of some sort might be a good idea…..

  10. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Mark Monaghan: I’m thinking a job of some sort might be a good idea….. · Mar 10 at 7:27am

    No, no, this is all included in your Ricochet membership fee! You get the podcasts, you get to go to Israel with us, you get everything–all for the price of a cup of coffee. It’s all part of a package so affordable you don’t even need to be employed to join. 

    You may want to get a job anyway, of course: The rest of life is expensive. 

  11. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Ursula Hennessey: Dying to hear about the swag bags. · Mar 10 at 6:07am

    I’m hoping for an electric car. 

  12. Claire Berlinski
    C
    KC Mulville: I confess my envy. Database guys don’t have junkets. · Mar 10 at 5:26am

    You do this week! You’re all invited. Except you get to skip the lines at the airport and any of the boring parts. 

  13. Aaron Miller

    It sounds great, Claire. Thanks.

  14. Pseudodionysius

    I’ll pay extra if one of you says “Zenga! Zenga!” in a public place.

  15. Roque Nuevo

    Camp David, 2000. Barak offered Arafat the whole store in exchange for some empty promises, was turned down and then lost the following elections for that reason alone.

    Did he think he was flushing Arafat out of his cover and he would be vindicated by the  “world community” because the mask would be off?

    If so, it was a good idea. But it was a bad idea. The “world community” will never support the Jews or Israel. The “world community” has been trying to exterminate the Jews and Israel for over a thousand years. Why would they stop now? Barak knows this better that I do. So, what happened at Camp David?

    I just want to be in a place where I can ask Barak about it. What was he thinking? Did he have some crazy-like-a-fox strategy, like the one I tried to explain? Was he a true believer in handing over territory for a promise of peace from the world’s most accomplished liar? He’s smart. He’s been involved in strategy formulation forever. He’s brave. What went wrong?

    If you can’t ask him, maybe you can ask someone who knows him?

  16. Roque Nuevo

    Here’s something else: could you just stand on a high place in the West Bank, try and see the Mediterranean from there, and take a picture of it? Then put the picture somewhere where I can see it? Then put a marker on Google Maps where you were and send that to me, too?

    I’m just curious about the view, is all. That’s probably the first thing I’d do if I ever got the chance to go to Israel since where I was born, that’s what people do when they go someplace new. They try and get the lay of he land and they’ll climb a tree if they have to.

  17. Mark Monaghan
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Mark Monaghan: I’m thinking a job of some sort might be a good idea….. · Mar 10 at 7:27am

    No, no, this is all included in your Ricochet membership fee! You get the podcasts, you get to go to Israel with us, you get everything–all for the price of a cup of coffee. It’s all part of a package so affordable you don’t even need to be employed to join. 

    You may want to get a job anyway, of course: The rest of life is expensive.  · Mar 10 at 7:37am

    No,no,Nona, I was thinking more on the line of YOU getting a job.   Have you considered Auto Body repairs?  hard to offshore something like that.  Or maybe tiling the AlGore collection of green bathrooms?

  18. Mark Monaghan

    Another good idea Claire, and I hope you have your ‘good idea notebook’ out:  Michael Moore is coming out with a new spring clothing line.  He will need a designer with panache and a feel for the people.  I think the theme will be ‘Other People’s Clothing’ but if you get in on it early you can influence this vital decision.

  19. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Pseudodionysius: I’ll pay extra if one of you says “Zenga! Zenga!” in a public place. · Mar 10 at 8:21am

    How much will you–or any member of Ricochet–pay per utterance? Because trust me, if the money’s right, it will happen. 

  20. Pseudodionysius
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Pseudodionysius: I’ll pay extra if one of you says “Zenga! Zenga!” in a public place. · Mar 10 at 8:21am

    How much will you–or any member of Ricochet–pay per utterance? Because trust me, if the money’s right, it will happen.  · Mar 10 at 9:31am

    I settle all international obligations using the Thai Bhat.

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