Israel 202

JCPA has teamed up with Israel Policy Forum to sponsor a new learning series for JCRC’s, lay leaders, and professionals on current political and social dynamics in Israel. The aim is to ensure the community relations network is updated and proficient on basic issues related to Israel’s democratic system in order to better serve as nuanced advocates. The series is being held directly prior to JCPA’s Leadership Mission to Israel, and will be moderated by Margaux Nijkerk, co-host of the popular Israel Policy Pod.

November 6, 2019
Unclear about what the green line means? The exact route of the separation barrier? Where are settlements located, and what makes up areas A, B and C? In the first session of this four-part series, Shaul Arieli explains the physical landscape of Israel and the Palestinian territories through interactive mapping.

Dr. Col. Shaul Arieli is considered to be an ‘encyclopedia’ of the Israeli-Palestinian political process, and is one of Israel’s leading experts on the demarcation of the future Israeli-Palestinian border and the route of the Separation Barrier. Arieli served as commander of a brigade in the Gaza Strip. As part of his military service he was responsible for the preparation of the official negotiations with the Palestinians, as head of the Interim Agreement Administration under the Rabin government, and head of the Peace Administration in the Barak Government. Since retiring from the IDF in 2001, Arieli has dedicated himself to advancing an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status agreement, and was amongst the leading negotiators in the process that brought about the Geneva Initiative in December 2003.

November 12, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
In this session, Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn explains issues surrounding Israel’s complex democracy, how it differs from our democracy here in the US, what their electoral process looks like, and what is involved in forming a coalition.

Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn joined the Northwestern University faculty in fall 2018 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Israel Studies at the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. Her research, teaching, and public engagement  activities focus on Diaspora-Israel relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Israel ultra-nationalist movement. Her first book, City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement (Harvard, 2017) was the winner of the 2018 Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature Choice Award and a finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award.

November 20, 2019, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Khalil Shakaki breaks down the most pressing issues in Palestinian politics today. What is behind the Hamas-Fatah split? Who will succeed Mahmoud Abbas? What is the current situation in Gaza and what can be done to improve it?

Prof. Khalil Shikaki is a Professor of Political Science and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (Ramallah, Palestine). Since 2005 he has been a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. Since 1993, Dr. Shikaki has conducted more than 200 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and, since 2000, dozens of joint polls among Palestinians and Israelis. Dr. Shikaki’s research has focused on the peace process, Palestinian state building, public opinion, transition to democracy, and the impact of domestic Palestinian politics on the peace process. He is the co-author of the annual report of the Arab Democracy Index and a member of the Steering Committee of the Arab Barometer, two initiatives led by the Arab Reform Initiative.

November 27, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern
Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes analyzes Israel’s changing relationship with its neighbors. Why is the Jordanian peace agreement so important? How is Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon affecting Israel? How do the constantly changing geopolitics of the Middle East affect Israel’s security?

Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab uprisings. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. Wittes is a co-host of Rational Security, a weekly podcast on foreign policy and national security issues. She writes on U.S. Middle East policy, regional conflict and conflict resolution, the challenges of global democracy, and the future of Arab governance.

Margaux Nijkerk is the policy and communications associate at Israel Policy Forum. She graduated from Emory University in 2018, majoring in Jewish Studies and minoring in Dance. Previously, Margaux interned at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Margaux is originally from the Netherlands and grew up in Belgium.