For the past 28 years, I have run a news agency that helps the foreign press cover all aspects of Israel.

There are times when unnecessary hurdles stand in the way of efficient press coverage of Israel.

One such hurdle was the Knesset.

Despite state of the art offices at the Knesset for the Israeli local media to cover the Knesset, there had never been a venue set aside for the foreign press to work at the Knesset.

In a letter that our agency recently dispatched to  MK Yuli Edelstein, the current speaker of the Knesset ,  our office asked Mr. Edelstein if he would set aside space in the Knesset for foreign press to cover Israel’s legislative branch.

The response was not long in coming. Mr. Edelstein’s office responded with an official statement that Suite 101 on the ground floor of the Knesset would now be set aside for foreign press to cover the Knesset.

This suite is adjacent to rooms set aside for the Israeli press corps. This is Hebrew version of that welome letter of authorization:

פנייתך ליושב-ראש הכנסת הועברה אליי למתן מענה ואתכבד להשיב:

בהמשך לפנייתך, ובניסיון לסייע, עיתונאים זרים שיגיעו לכנסת יוכלו להשתמש מעתה בחדר 101 באגף העיתונאים שבקומה הראשונה באגף הישן. חדר זה חולקים מספר עיתונאים והוא יעמוד מעתה גם לרשות כתבים זרים, תוך הצבת שילוט מתאים, על בסיס מקום פנוי.

אציין עוד כי ברחבי הכנסת מצויים שטחי עבודה רבים עבור הכתבים הזרים כמו עבור כל העיתונאים האחרים. ניתן לעבוד בשטחי הצילום בקומות 2 ו 3, באגף הוועדות באזורים מיועדים לתקשורת ועוד. הכנסת מספקת שירותי WIFI, כמעט בכול רחבי הכנסת.

כפי שאתה יודע, דוברות הכנסת תשמח בכל עת לסייע לך ולכול חבריך העיתונאים.

Best regards,

Yotam Yakir
Knesset spokesperson
Head of Media and Public Relations Division

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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