Derakhshan has dreamed of visiting Israel for years. Now, at the height of the war of words between Israel and Iran, he feels that this is the right time to realize his dream and to share his experiences with readers of his blogs. During the week he spent in Israel, he met with Israelis who emigrated from Iran, lectured at Tel Aviv University on how young Iranian reformists are using the Internet for political purposes and sought mainly to see and speak to as many Israelis as possible. "The idea is to come to Israel as a civilian and a journalist, to contribute to the dialogue and perhaps to help a little to dispel the tension between the two countries," explains Derakhshan. "Both Israel and Iran gain from this propaganda machine that portrays the other side as the bad guy, and our goal as civilians is to change this.
"I am trying to show Israelis that there are lots of people like myself living in Iran, with the same moderate ideas about Israel and the world. Most Iranians want normal relations with Israel, and do not view Israelis as bloodthirsty Jews who want to kill all Muslims, which is how the regime tries to portray them."
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