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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. 

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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!