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October 27, 2015 – Is peace possible in a nuclear Middle East? What will connect American Jewry to Israel in the future? Will Zionism still be relevant tomorrow?
These questions and others were at the center of a provocative daylong conference at the Oshman Family JCC (OFJCC) in Palo Alto on Sunday, November 22. The event, co-hosted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, brought together leading journalists and thought leaders to discuss the pivotal issues that will define Israel in the next generation. The event featured two keynote speakers: respected American-Israeli journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, staff writer for The Atlantic, and MK Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
Through lectures, discussions and in-depth roundtable sessions, participants discussed Middle East regional conflicts, the Peace Process, Iran, the BDS Movement, the relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel and the role of Israelis living in North America.
Ronit Jacobs, Director of the Israeli Cultural Connection (ICC) at the OFJCC and one of the event’s organizers, described the event as “a safe space for people of all backgrounds to increase their understanding of Israel and ask the tough questions.” It is, she adds, often difficult to find common ground on the topic of Israel. “We hear from the extreme left, we hear from the extreme right.… We now have a chance to bring together American and Israeli voices from across the political spectrum to engage in meaningful dialogue about Israel.”
Aluf Benn, Haaretz's Editor-in-Chief, said that, “We believe it’s critically important to create opportunities for dialogue and learning to strengthen the ties between American Jews and Israel. We’re excited to partner with the Oshman Family JCC in this compelling and timely conference, which gives us a unique opportunity to engage with our readers in the Bay Area.”
Also featured at the event were:
• MK Aliza Lavie, Ph.D.
• Publisher of Haaretz Amos Schoken
• Editor-in-Chief of Haaretz Aluf Benn
• Editor-in-Chief of Haaretz English edition Charlotte Halle
• Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bret Stephens
• Haaretz Columnist Peter Beinart
• Haaretz Journalist Amos Harel
• Haaretz Journalist Chemi Shalev
• iEngage Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute Ruth Calderon
• Co-Author of the Israeli Peace Initiative Koby Huberman
• President and Founder of the Reut Institute Gidi Grinstein
• Senior Fellow at the Israel Democratic Institute Dr. Arye Carmon
Jacobs explains that the conference is part of the OFJCC’s continuing mission to provide opportunities for the community to learn about Israel. Beginning November 4 is a lecture series in partnership with the Hartman Institute of North America entitled, “Shaping the Revival of Jewish Life in Israel and North America.”
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