Emma Fine
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America’s Voices in Israel (AVII) organizes tours of Israel for broadcasters, commentators, journalists, and media personalities. During their travels in Israel they go to places few tourist ever visit and see the real Israel with their own eyes. For many of them, it’s the first time they understand how the real Israel is very different from the Israel portrayed in the media. AVI groups actively seek new perspectives on the Middle East political situation, allowing participants to make their own decisions with first-hand information.

On Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, America’s Voices in Israel visited Sderot Media Centre. The actors and actresses visiting the Centre were:

Sarah Drew
Grey’s Anatomy – Dr. April Kepner

Kevin McKidd
Grey’s Anatomy Dr. Owen Hunt

Travis Milne
Rookie Blue – Chris Diaz

Lucas Neff
Raising Hope – Jimmy Chance

Gregory Smith
Everwood – Ephram Brown & Rookie Blue Dov Epstein

Shannon Woodward
Raising Hope – Sabrina

Despite feeling jet-lagged and sleep-deprived, they all listened intently and were very interested in learning about the situation in Sderot and the Western Negev, and about Sderot Media Centre.

Noam Bedein, Director of Sderot Media Centre, informed the group about the situation in Sderot and the Western Negev. The actors showed concern and shock whilst learning about Qassam attacks and seeing some of the rockets in real life. They peered at the rockets and touched them, making the situation all the more realistic.

The group moved on to the next area of the visit, travelling to a viewpoint allowing them to see Gaza. The actors were amazed to see how close they were to Gaza – only 1km away.

By way of analogy, actor Gregory Smith (Everwood and Rookie Blue) commented on the bomb shelters in Sderot:

When you hurt your elbow and it starts bleeding, you put a pad on it to try and protect it. If you keep banging it, eventually, the pad is going to rip so you need to stop banging against the wall. It’s a nice sort of fix but it doesn’t stay.

Despite the short amount of time given to deliver the information to the actors, they seemed very moved and shocked by the events happening in Sderot.


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