In terms of accessibility, Israel is much more accessible to Palestinians and Jordanians
than any other location suggested for Wikimania 2011.
It is even more accessible to them than Alexandria, Egypt, the venue of Wikimania 2008,
and I say it after I checked this matter with the relevant people.
When Wikimania was last held in the Middle East, namely in Egypt, there was only one
Palestinian who wished to participate, and he couldn't get a visa to Egypt from the
The EG authorities probably had their reasons, and I don't mention it in an attempt to
blame someone, not at all.
I just wanted to note, that even then, when Wikimania was held in an Arab country, not far
away from the Palestinian Territories, the interest in the event within this community was
Many Palestinians can come to Haifa without our help. They can simply take a bus, as they
do every day when they come to work in Israel. For some Palestinians the process is
somewhat more complicated, but something that can certainly be handled, especially with
the help of the organizers.
As for Jordan, there were three Jordanians in Wikimania 2007 in Taipei. I met two of them
also in Alexandria in 2008. I'm not sure whether there were more Jordanians in 2008. I
didn't see any in Buenos Aires 2009. For a Jordanian, obtaining a visa requires some
form filling at the embassy in Amman. After having the visa, s/he can simply take a bus to
the border crossing, and then another bus to Haifa. Many Jordanians have families in
northern Israel, so some of them don't even need accommodations. And yet they need to
have interest in this event.
One can lead the horse to the water, but one cannot make it drink.
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