The Ministry of Information and Diaspora and the Government Press Office held a special tour in southern Israel to members of the foreign press on Wednesday.
During the tour, representatives of news agencies, international newspapers and television channels joined a tour designed to show reporters the harsh reality of civilian life under the threat of rockets. The tour comes following the recent escalation in the south this week, during which more than 200 rockets were launched from Gaza at southern Israeli communities.
The tour departed from the Government Press Office in Jerusalem and then went to Ashdod, where the reporters met with residents and owners of buildings that were damaged by rockets. The tour continued to Ashkelon and to the Barzilai Hospital in the city, where the reporters visited some of the hospital wings that had to be moved to an underground shelter for fear of being hit by a missile.
At the Barzilai Hospital, the journalists met with some people who suffered shock as a result of the rocket attacks, as well as with a Palestinian Authority Arab woman from Gaza who is currently being treated at the hospital.
The mayor of Ashkelon met the journalists and spoke about the emotional damage being caused to families and children, and the economic damage being caused to business owners because of the constant attacks. The tour then went on to the Eshkol Regional Council, where the journalists met local families and toured an area, near a kindergarten, that was hit by a missile.
The Ministry of Information and Diaspora later said the tour was a success and explained, “The goal was to create a meeting of the foreign press with people who experience firsthand the reality of the threat of rockets and missiles. The meetings on the street, in the hospital or with a family who fears for their children, are an important part of the story which is then passed through the foreign journalists to viewers and readers around the world.”
Photos by Mark Naiman, GPO