Photo Credit: Esther Rubyan / Flash 90
People pass through a part of the shuk (market) in the Old City of Jerusalem.

A group of journalist and bloggers from several Arab countries arrived in Israel on Sunday in a first visit of its kind. The relations between the Jewish state and other Arab countries appear to reaching new heights.

The six opinion-shapers, including citizens from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, will tour Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth, and will meet with Members of Knesset, Foreign Ministry officials and academics.

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Yuval Rotem, Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated Sunday that the delegation was organized by the Foreign Ministry.

“No doubt this visit will allow our guests to get to know the Israeli society in all its diversity from up close,” he stated.

Acting Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nizar Amer welcomed the delegation with a tweet in Arabic.

“An important step is to build a bridge of peace and promote understanding among peoples,” he stated.

Israel often hosts delegations of opinion-shapers from around the world in an attempt to circumvent the often hostile media and enable the journalists and bloggers to provide a first-hand and unbiased account of their experiences in Israel.

This visit comes a month after Israeli journalists were admitted to Bahrain for the first time in history to cover the Peace to Prosperity economic workshop in Manama, and just days after Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz met publicly with the Foreign Minister of Bahrain Khalid al-Khalifa at the State Department in Washington.

“Another example of our growing diplomatic connections,” Katz said. “I will continue to work with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries.”

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