More than 30 writers and editors for the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Acharonot toured Samaria on Sunday and met residents of the area. The day-long trip included tours of several Samaria communities, including some that often make headlines.
The tour took place as part of a Samaria Regional Council project aimed at reaching out to politicians, the media, and other professionals involved in influencing public opinion.
Yediot is one of Israel's most-read Hebrew papers. The paper bills itself as centrist, although many on the political right have accused the paper of promoting a left-wing, pro-Kadima agenda.
The group began by visiting Barkan, Bruchin, and Nofim, from which they looked over the Nahal Kane nature reserve. Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria Regional Council, gave the group some background on the area.
The group then took part in a driving tour of the city of Ariel, recently dubbed the “capital of Samaria.” They continued to the smaller towns of Itamar and Givot Olam. In Givot Olam, they were served a meal made from the organic produce grown on local farms, and were shown sculptures made by local artist Assaf Kidron.
The next stop on the tour was Elon Moreh, next to Shechem (Nablus), where the reporters met with veteran Yesha pioneer Benny Katzover of the Samaria Residents Council.
Har Bracha then welcomed the group in its restaurant Bracha al Hahar (Blessing on the Mountain). The visitors were given wine from the local winery.
The final stop on the tour was Havat Gilad, a small Jewish farming village whose residents have occasionally been accused of violence on the pages of Yediot. Reporters met and talked with residents of the village.
Two weeks earlier, a group of more than 30 journalists, editors and others from Army Radio were taken on a similar tour of the region.