Indonesian journalists visit Israel

Eight senior Indonesian journalists are visiting Israel, a first since the countries have no diplomatic ties.

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council and its sister organization, the American Jewish Committee, coordinated the trip this week even though Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has never had diplomatic ties with Israel.

Indonesia has agreed to attend the Middle East peace summit in Maryland next month.

“This is part of our continuing effort to bring here individuals of influence from Southeast Asian nations, some of which, such as Indonesia, as yet have no official relations with Israel,” Dr. Colin Rubenstein, executive director of AIJAC, told The Jerusalem Post.

The Indonesian journalists met Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who told the delegation that Israel is “open to relations with anyone who wishes them.”

The journalists also went on a helicopter tour from Sderot to the Golan Heights.

Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid was a strong proponent of normalizing relations between the two countries.

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