(photo: Avi Lewis/Times of Israel)

(photo: Avi Lewis/Times of Israel)

By Avi Lewis - April 6, 2015

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

AMMAN – As Israelis headed to the ballot boxes on March 17, a number of journalists and politicians gathered for a workshop detailing the various political parties, their platforms and campaigns. This pre-election seminar, however, was not held in Hebrew for the disgruntled Israeli voter. It was entirely in Arabic and in the unlikeliest of places — neighboring Jordan

The initiative, among others, was spearheaded by the Amman-based Center for Israel Studies, an independent nonprofit think tank established in late 2014 that seeks to combat media misinformation surrounding the Jewish state and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by presenting an alternative, neutrality-driven view of Israel in Arabic for Jordan’s decision makers, journalists and wider public.

One of the first of its kind in the Arab world – small Israel-studies circles exist in Egyptian academia — the center hosts lectures, programs, conferences and debates that signal a growing openness to understanding Israeli society amid a post-Arab Spring internet-savvy generation thirsty for a balanced, more objective view of their oft-maligned and misunderstood neighbor west of the Jordan river. Read More