Rank and File: British MPs Visit Israel

Taking issue with the foreign press; a musical more than cuckoo.

Cabinet Minister Rt. Hon. Matthew Hancock, MP and Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood, MP with H.E. David Quarrey, and MPs and Lords at the Prime Minister's Office, Jerusalem, February 2016.
James Gurd

Not one but two delegations of British parliamentarians were in Israel this week. Conservative Friends of Israel brought over nine MPs, seven of them first-time visitors, for a five-day tour. ”When you come out here and see the situation for yourself you get a completely different impression than what you get from the media,” MP John Howell, who represents Henley west of London, told Haaretz. He noted the group’s visit to communities near Gaza to see the damage done by Hamas rockets. Meanwhile, 12 members of the House of Lords from the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group were in the country. The group included Lord Stuart Polak, who served as Conservative Friends of Israel’s director for 26 years before receiving a CBE from the Queen and a peerage in October.

TAKING ON THE FOREIGN PRESS: The government took its beef against the foreign media to a new level recently when a Knesset panel called in Foreign Press Association representatives to “discuss” allegedly biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At Tel Aviv’s Beit Hatfusot on Tuesday, the Tel Aviv International Salon, which serves the young adult English-speaking community, will consider whether Israel gets a fair shake in the media. The evening features three former Londoners who work in the media or engage with it: Charlotte Hallé, editor of Haaretz English Edition; Joe Hyams, Honest Reporting’s CEO; and Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, head of the IDF Foreign Press and Social Media Branch. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon will also join the panel discussion. RSVP to https://IsraelMediaTelAvivSalon.eventbrite.com.

CUCKOO MUSICAL: A musical version of the play “The Cuckoo Clock” is coming to the Habima National Theater this Saturday in a collaboration between Habima and English On Stage, the English-language professional traveling theater. The show depicts a group of talented animals who live inside a clock and try to help out their beloved cuckoo bird when it gets into trouble. It features a multi-genre original score with live musical instruments, body percussion and beatbox. The play features Meirav Zur, Noa Har-Paz and Ron Erel. Zur, who wrote the play, split her childhood between Minnesota and Atlanta. The show is appropriate for English-speaking children 5 and up, Zur says. For tickets visit http://englishonstage.co.il.

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