Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein was the keynote address on "Israel’s Public Diplomacy in a Hostile World” at the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism ceremony, which took place last Sunday at Beit Hatfutsot – Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, at Tel Aviv University.
Friends, family and journalists came to honor and recognize the achievement of their peers and colleagues in their work on Diaspora reporting.
According to B'nai B'rith's mission statement, "The award was established in the belief that media can strengthen Israel-Diaspora relations and to encourage a wider quality of reportage on the Jewish Diaspora in the Israeli media."
Minister Edelstein addressed the audience with a speech about other countries' perception of Israel and the importance of explanation in journalism to alleviate the often hostile world view.
Edelstein said part of Israel's problems derived from the new anti-Semitism, which in fact isn't new, but just takes on a new name as anti-Zionism. Yet, he said, "The symptom and the problem aren't the same. Changing the government will not resolve all of Israel's problems and all the world against us, there are certain radical groups that succeed in having us lose face."
Edelstein believes that with new media on the internet there are ways to go beyond the question of who are the aggressors and the victims. "There is an interest in both sides," he said. "It is journalists' jobs to provide a true picture of the conflict to the public."
The awardsThe B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf for 2010 conferred at the event upon Anshel Pfeffer (Haaretz) for the print media category.
Television producer and director Shaul Meislish accepted an award for two documentary films, "Embrace Me" and "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" that aired on Channel 1 TV. "Embrace Me" tells the story of Moroccan Jewish poet, singer and composer Joe Amar, who came to Israel in the 1950s. The documentary details his undulating popularity from fame to anonymity in Israeli music culture. "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" is a portrait of Israel's first Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog.
Channel 10 news correspondent Ilan Goren received a Certificate of Merit for his film, "Lost in India," which describes the return of the tribe of Menashe to Judaism and their immigration to Israel.
Producer Shlomi Goldberg from Israel TV Channel 1 received a Certificate of Excellence for his weekly program "The Jewish Home" and for the film "Once Jews Lived Here", documenting the history of Slovakian Jewry. In his acceptance speech, he discussed the Americanization of Israel and the need to reject that mentality.
"One of the old ministers (in parliament) said, 'Why don't we just let America conquer us and become another one of their States. Another minister said, well, what if we win?" he joked, emphasizing that Israelis should be proud of their heritage.
The Lifetime Achievement award was given to veteran journalist Avraham Tirosh, who wrote for Maariv from 1967-2002. In accepting his award he read from one of his first articles published as a cover story, a poetic impression of the country titled, "I saw the Land of Israel."
This year also marked the inaugural student essay competition in honor of the late Gutman Rabinovich. The winners of the competition were Liat Cohen, a student at Bar-Ilan University, and Renen Yezersky from Sapir College.