Councillors shown the real Israel

By Marcus Dysch, October 31, 2013

British councillors have taken part in the first of a series of Israel tours aimed at giving local authority representatives an insight into the country’s political system.

Organised by the We Believe Israel advocacy group, and Labour Friends of Israel, last week’s trip saw six councillors from around England meet officials and counterparts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The nine-strong delegation — including councillors from Liverpool City Council, Merton Council and Waltham Forest Council — was led by We Believe’s Luke Akehurst and LFI’s Ben Garratt.

It is hoped that the trips will provide local politicians who could face anti-Israel motions or boycott proposals with in-depth knowledge of the situation on-the-ground in the country.

Mr Akehurst said participants had part-funded their own trips, indicating their dedication.

“We know there’s a market out there of people who are very keen to go to Israel and have a political educational experience,” he said.

“The feedback has been fantastic. People found it very informative. They made a big commitment to come and we are broadening our network.”

The delegation also visited Ramallah and the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, as well as the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights, where they received an IDF briefing on Israel’s security situation.

Participants also took part in a party marking Jerusalem’s municipal elections.

The tour was the first visit to Israel for Orthodox Jewish Liverpool councillor Jeremy Wolfson.

Last updated: 6:45pm, October 31 2013