Wikinews has now made history in the media, becoming the first ever collaborative, citizen journalism news site to interview a world leader.
Along with technology writers for Slate, PC Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Aviation Weekly and other publications, Wikinews was invited by the America-Israel Friendship League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review Israel’s technology sector as part of a campaign to 're-brand the country.' To show that there is more to Israel than the Palestinian conflict. On this trip, the non-conflict item on display was the large Israeli technology sector, which has given the world the Pentium processor and Instant Messaging. The schedule was hectic: 12-14 hours a day were spent doing everything from trips to the Weizmann Institute to dinner with Yossi Vardi.
On Thursday, the fifth day of the the junket, David Saranga of the foreign ministry was able to arrange an exclusive interview for David Shankbone with the President of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres. For over an hour they spoke about Iranian politics, whether Israel is in danger of being side-lined in Middle Eastern importance because of Arab oil wealth, and his thoughts against those who say Israeli culture is in a state of decay.
Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, but he remembers that he has not always been as popular as he is today. "Popularity is like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to drink," said Peres.
"You don’t drink it." The search for popularity, he goes on to say, will kill a person who has an idea against the status quo.
Read the full exclusive interview.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008