In March, Professors Joel Kaplan and Simon Perez took 15 journalism students on a 10-day trip to Israel, where they visited all four corners of the country and honed their storytelling. The students, part of Kaplan’s Topics in Specialized Reporting course, were there at the invitation of the Jerusalem Press Club, which regularly hosts an immersion for American journalism students to help them learn more about the complexities of covering Israel and the Middle East.
The group crisscrossed the country, visiting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Golan Heights and the West Bank. They toured an Israeli village near the Gaza Strip and went to Ziv Hospital in Safed, where they spoke with Syrian refugees receiving medical treatment. They saw religious sites including the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. They went to the Dead Sea and the Negev desert.
Perez blogged about the experience. “The Jerusalem Press Club has put together a schedule to really give the students a taste of what’s going on in the Middle East,” he wrote on the third day of the trip. “This is not a one-sided presentation that makes Israel or the Palestinians out to be the good guys, bad guys, victims or perpetrators. In fact, one student said today he hoped to finish the trip with a firm understanding of which side was right. He now knows that’s not going to be possible. What a great thing to learn.”