The first-ever delegation of senior legal advisers and human rights experts from permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva visited Israel last week to witness firsthand insights into Israel's institutions, legal framework, vibrant and diverse population, and active civil society sector.
The delegation included representatives of the Permanent Missions of the United States, Italy, Greece, Uruguay, Paraguay, Kenya, and Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council, World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and several other international organizations reside. The historic delegation was brought by the Center for Jewish Impact, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The representatives were given a geopolitical overview of Israel's security challenges, learned about its institutions and legal system, met with legal experts, held a roundtable discussion with Israeli civil society leaders, and learned about Israel's excellence in accessible education by visiting Alumot Or Benjamin Rothman Magshimim school for students with low-functioning autism, and their approach to holistic education. They visited Yad Vashem and attended a case-study session with experts on Antisemitism to learn more about historical and contemporary manifestations of the world's oldest hate, especially from a legal perspective.
"Despite the United Nations' challenging environment, underscored by the latest Commission of Inquiry report, these diplomats witnessed a side of Israel that inspires hope and showcases the power of resilience," said Robert Singer, Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact. "We showed them Israel that they might otherwise never see, and I think it was an impactful experience for them, which we hope they will use in their professional work."
"This transformative experience highlighted Israel's diversity and its own mechanisms that underscore its strengths and the Jewish State's efforts to improve, said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of CAM. "We also impressed on them the importance of fighting Antisemitism and how it permeates so much debate about Israel across the globe."
“The United Nations is a bubble, too often detached from the reality on the ground. Having first-hand experience of Israel is the ideal way to understand the diversity, the complexity, and the beauty of our Country," said H.E. Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, "I am convinced that the Diplomats who joined this tour will see Israel from a whole different perspective in the future.”