Gil Hoffman, Senior Political Editor of the Jerusalem Post Talk- November 14, 2010
“Peace, Politics and Plutonium: An insider’s look at Israel’s efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran and enhance Mideast peace”
On Sunday, November 14th, 2010 more than one hundred people, between 35-40 from Etz Chaim, attended this presentation by Gil Hoffman, Senior Political Editor of the Jerusalem Post. While addressing the seriousness of the topic, Gil infused his presentation with anecdotes and humor, engaging us all.
At the outset, Gil explained that Prime Minister Netanyahu has several decisions to make regarding Mideast peace, bringing home Gilad Shalit, as well as Jonathan Pollard, and the nuclearization of Iran. Acknowledging that “things are getting better,” Gil said that everything Netanyahu does is through the prism of Iran. Gil described four approaches for the world to deal with threats from Iran: political, diplomatic, economic and military. Since July, we have been in the economic phase, with several countries (including the US) imposing various sanctions which, according to Gil, are going well. This phase is expected to last one year. He says that, ironically, in order to prevent military action, there has to be a military threat. As always, Israel “hopes for the best and prepares for the worst.”
With regard to peace in the Middle East, Gil explained that although Israel believes that there is a slim chance of success, the desire is for negotiations to continue. Netanyahu has made concessions, including putting a freeze on construction in the West Bank; this, however, still is not enough for the Palestinians to return to the table as they don’t have to make concessions. What is needed is an Arab leader who has the trust of the Israelis (as did Sadat) and an American leader who is revered by Israel (as was President Clinton). Gil commented that Israel is not as right-wing as people think, that if the Palestinians can be pressured to make concessions, Israel is willing to do more. He also revealed that Israel’s demand to be recognized as a “Jewish state,” this is a “euphemism for an end to the conflict…a true peace, not a piece of paper.” Netanyahu’s favorite word is reciprocity, “you give, you get.”
Referring to Israel’s “up and down relationship” with the United States, Gil noted that the feeling in Israel is that President Obama has become more serious about doing whatever it takes to prevent the nuclearization of Iran. Israel is fervent in its prayers that he will succeed. In addition, Gil described Obama’s decline in US support as an opportunity: Even with a majority of the Congress Republican, his hands are not tied with regard to foreign policy as more Americans are pro-Israel than ever.
Following his talk, Gil answered questions from the audience. A reception followed where individuals were able to speak with him informally.
Held at Congregation Beth Shalom, Naperville, this program was a cooperative effort between CBS, Temple B’nai Israel, Aurora, and Congregation Etz Chaim. It is hoped that the West Suburban synagogues will collaborate on an annual basis, rotating hosts.
Adult Education Committee