My opinion is simple. Israel is not a good place to have such an
international event as Wikimania. I wouldn't vote for Israel, Saudi
Arabia, Iran, UAE and other countries that are hard for many people to
get into. Having such a conversation isn't the point of Wikimania. The
fact that a team is amazingly active shouldn't be a reason to make
this annual, exciting and useful meeting so complicated and dangerous
for so many people.
I can see why the Wikimedia Foundation may not be so interested in
taking one side in any political/ethical debate outside its main
mission. That's reasonable and understandable. But in my opinion the
whole thing is about picking a place that is a 'good' host.
Whether we can do something to solve the major issues of Wikimania
2011 or not, we should seriously think of adding a standard for
Wikimania hosts: that they need to be generally easily reachable for
the vast majority of the Wikimedia community.
Poland was great. I loved it. I mean I really loved having meetings in
such 'peaceful' countries without such debates. Why not? There are
many of them.
[Historically, the part below was written before the one that's above,
something you may feel and notice! :)]
This is bullshit. There are always people who for
take an air flight - should we also complain that they do not have
an opportunity to travel to Wikimania which is on a different
That does not make any sense. Many people cannot, legally and
socially, go to Israel and that's a fact not merely an opinion or a
(legitimate and reasonable) choice.
Turkey is no problem, Turkish citizens can, may and do
Israel. Also, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunesia, and Mauretania are no
problem. Algeria I would need to check.
I dunno about Turkey, but no, it's impossible for people from the
other countries to visit Israel for social reasons and these reasons
cannot be ignored.
it ultimately is a personal decision of whether or not
wants to go.
Sure, it *is* your personal decision to make yourself at risk of
serious consequences. Read below.
there is no way to get a visa on a separate paper,
even if you get a
stamp from immigration separately that visa in all likelihood is
going to be there.
That, simply, changes everything.
As explained on
are various ways to attain a visa entry to Israel even if you live
in a country with no Israeli embassies.
The page doesn't say anything about Visas on a blank paper, but only
the stamps. Also "Passport stamping" talks about "those countries may
also search for Jordanian/Egyptian exit stamps from land borders with
English-to-Arabic translator and programmer.