The Samaria Local Authority hosted 20 journalists from the Walla news portal Monday, as part of an ongoing project to acquaint journalists with Samaria's Jewish communities. Until recently, Walla had employed Anat Kam – who is charged with espionage – as its media affairs reporter. It continued to employ her even when she had been placed under house arrest.
Walla recently overtook its closest competitor as the leading Hebrew-language news portal, according to web surveys. It was partially owned by Haaretz in the past and has a distinctly left-of-center slant – which, in Israel, means that it opposes Jewish life in Judea and Samaria. Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria have long complained that the left-leaning media in Israel demonizes them and portrays them as a wild, fanatical, Arab-hating bunch that endangers Israel.
The group included Walla's Editor in Chief Avi Meshulam, News Desk Head Roi Katz, Deputy News Desk Head Doria Lempel, Deputy Editor Udi Hirsch, Coordinator of Reporters Itamar Batito and others.
The day-long tour included visits to the Barkan Industrial Area, and the communities of Barkan, Bruchin, Tzofim, Ariel, Elon Moreh and Havat Gilad. The group enjoyed an organic meal at the Gvaot Olam farm, and held meetings with Samaria Local Authority Head Gershon Mesika and veteran pioneer leader Benny Katzover.
Another recent journalist visitor to Samaria, television personality Avri Gilad, said following his tour that the experience had been 'revolutionary.' The tours are the initiative of the Strategic Unit of the Samaria Local Authority in cooperation with the grassroots Samaria Residents' Council.