The goal of Israel Now Forum is not only to provide the community a broad – based education regarding the modern State of Israel, but to also keep the community current with regard to ongoing developments affecting Israel. Therefore, in addition to our periodically scheduled live programming, such as our prior Israel Today Symposiums, we will now be continually making accessible to you on our website, through the technology of virtual programming, “postings” (e.g., webinars, videos, podcasts, on-line articles) from a cross-section of renowned authorities, scholars and institutions. Through this process, our objective will be to present, on a non-partisan basis, accurate facts and objective analyses, on a timely basis, consistent with the preservation of the State of Israel, and its safety and security.
Therefore, Israel Now Forum has made available on this website, for your free download and analysis, Virtual Presenter Topics grouped according to the following categories: Historical Events, Current Issues, and Israel’s Contributions to the World. Each of these Topics has been, and new Topics will be, carefully pre-screened and added to the web site only if its subject matter is consistent with our goal of accurate facts and objective presentation of contested issues. Each Presenter has also had its respective biography or background listed in the Virtual Presenter Background. To access a desired Topic, please click below on the presenter’s topic hyperlink immediately following the narrative summary of that Topic. To access the Background of each Presenter, click on Virtual Presenter Backgrounds.
Caveat – due to the nature of the operation of You Tube® (or other encountered video sharing platform), the user may occasionally encounter a pattern of fixed video images that do not pertain to videos, webinars or like on-line postings loaded by Israel Now Forum. Given their arbitrary nature, it is unlikely that any of these postings have been prescreened to comply with the pre-established conditions imposed by Israel Now Forum, and the user accesses those postings in its own discretion. Should the user desire to limit access and analysis of only items prescreened by Israel Now Forum, the user should return to and click on Virtual Presenter Topics to access only prescreened items made available by Israel Now Form.
Dr. Raphael Danziger – Video – Founding of the State of Israel
Commencing with the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel by the Romans, and culminating in their return to found the modern State of Israel as a Jewish homeland, Dr. Danziger uses this video to tell the story of a people travelling through history, seeking to sustain their Jewish heritage by re – attachment to the land from which they were expelled. Dr Danziger recounts in detail the documented history of the resettlement of the Jewish homeland as a cumulative result of (i) emerging Zionism – the international movement of the Jewish people, (ii) the 1917 British Balfour Declaration pronouncing support for a national home for the Jewish people, and (iii) the post- World War I creation by the League of Nations of the British Mandate out of the former Ottoman Empire, which required Britain to implement a portion of the British Mandate as the Jewish homeland of the Balfour Declaration. Dr. Danziger thereafter recounts the refusal of the local Arabs and the neighboring Arab countries to share any portion, however small and disconnected, of the British Mandate with the Jewish people, and elected instead to initiate a war to eliminate all Jewish presence therefrom. As a consequence, and as detailed by Dr. Danziger, the Jewish forces successfully prevailed over the attacking Arab countries in this War of Independence, the State of Israel was founded in 1948, a 1949 agreement between Israel and the losing Arab countries established armistice lines that substantially expanded the geographical territory of the State of Israel, and in 1949 Israel was admitted as a full member of the United Nations. During this video, Dr. Danziger provides the factual basis for the Jewish people as indigenous inhabitants of the land of the State of Israel, factually disproves existing allegations that Israel illegally expanded its territory in 1947 – 1949, and effectively refutes that Israel is legally or morally responsible for the Palestinian refugee crisis arising from the War of Independence.
Dr. Raphael Danziger – Video – Founding of the State of Israel
Dr. Danziger uses this video presentation to trace the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from the time of the demise of The Ottoman Empire until the present. Specifically, as a consequence of the success of the Allies during World War 1 (1914 – 1917) over Germany (and over Germany’s partner, The Ottoman Empire),, the League of Nations designated a portion of the conquered land as the British Mandate, out of which a “Palestinian” portion designated “ Palestine” was allocated as a Jewish homeland . This sharing of land was refused by the Arabs and the Arabic countries. Thereafter, in 1947, after World War II, the United Nations designated, as a part of the Partition Plan, a small , discontinuous portion of land for the Jewish homeland – and a substantially larger and contiguous land mass to be for the Arab Palestinians. Notwithstanding the Jewish acceptance of this proposal, the Palestinian Arabs and then- existing Arab countries launched the War of Independence against Israel to drive all Jews out of the country. The result – Israel prevailed in this War, and the armistice lines left the Palestinians with far less land than the Israelis had unilaterally volunteered to cede to the Palestinians at the beginning of the War of Independence. Dr. Danziger ends this historical summary with the circumstances of Israel’s subsequent attempts to arrive at peace with the Palestinians, in return for which the Palestinians contend that Israel has no right to its own separate Jewish state.
Dr. Tal Becker – Video – From No Home to Two Homes
A thought provoking lecture by Dr. Becker who initially raises the question of what defines a “Jewish Peoplehood”, and thereafter compares the role that the “land of Israel” historically has had in influencing what constitutes a “Jewish Peoplehood”. Dr. Becker traces the influence of “the land of Israel” on “Jewish Peoplehood” from the time when world Jewry was in exile, and therefore essentially had no home, to the present time in which the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish national home and an America perceived to be a safe and secure place for Jews, albeit a minority, raises the prospect that world Jewry may now have essentially two homes. Dr. Becker then conjectures as to whether duality of homes may fundamentally alter what constitutes a “Jewish Peoplehood”, as well as be responsible for conflicts as what Israel’s role should be to secure the Jewish future.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger – Video – Early Pilgrims and the Modern Day Exodus
Ambassador (ret.) Ettinger traces the planting of the seeds of the unique United States/Israel relationship to be the voyage of the “Mayflower” ship from its departure from Plymouth, England to its landing at Plymouth Rock in the New World. He highlights the well-documented impact that the story of the Exodus had on this famous voyage, and particularly on its 102 passengers, referring to their departure from England as the “Modern Day Exodus”, the traversal of the Atlantic Ocean as the “Modern Day Parting of the Sea”, and the New World as the “Modern Day Promised Land.” Ambassador Ettinger discloses why these early Pilgrims (and then, the Founding Fathers) deemed the settlement of the New World as the implementation of the Biblical vision of the resettlement of a Jewish nation in the land of Israel, and how this vision has resulted in an America favorably disposed toward the modern Jewish State of Israel.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar – Video – Arab Myth – Israel is Occupying Palestine
This empowering presentation by Dr. Kedar systematically addresses each of the claims by self-described Palestinians (and certain ones of its Arab allies) that support the proposition that (i) no Jewish people ever lived in Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) before the Palestinians, and that (ii) the Palestinian people were expelled from their historic homeland in 1948. Examples of specific Palestinian claims that Dr. Kedar refutes are (a) that the Zionists purposely erased all mention of Muhammad from the Bible after 1948, (b) that those Jewish people who may have preceded the Palestinian people into Eretz Israel actually never lived in, but only wandered through, the land of Israel, (c) that the first Jewish people who came and lived in the land of Israel were the European colonists, (d) that anything that is found to prove that the Jewish people were indigenous to the land of Israel is a forgery, and (e) that there exists a conspiracy between Christians and Jews to steal the land belonging to Islam. Dr. Kedar discusses the importance of technology and archaeology in ultimately determining that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel.
StandWithUs (SWU) – Video – Why a Compromise Israeli Unity Government
Having failed at three attempted elections in Israel to form a new government, the contesting parties, in recognition of the urgent need to defend the country from the Covid-19 pandemic virus, settled on a compromise unity government. In this video, Lahav Harkov, Senior Contributing Editor and Diplomatic Correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, initially gives a clear and concise description of the fundamentals of the Israeli election process, a process that requires successful coalition building. She then summarizes the details of the three unsuccessful elections, followed by her description of how the coronavirus caused the contesting politicians to affect a compromise government.
Dr. Tal Becker – Video – Controversial Legislation in the Israeli Knesset
Dr. Becker analyzes specific examples of then-pending legislation in the Knesset having a bearing on the type of society Israel is to be, including what Jewish issues, values, and principles need to be consulted in the evaluation of such legislation. Inherent in such inquiry is the broader question raised by Dr. Becker as to whether Israel’s claim to be a Jewish state and/or the “homeland” of the Jewish people does or does not require input from world Jewry, in general, when the legislation will affect what type of society Israel is to be. Although the specific legislation discussed in the lecture is in the year 2011, the issues raised by Dr. Becker are applicable irrespective of the date of the legislation.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar – Podcast – Is There a Divide between American and Israeli Jewry?
An early question was posed to Dr. Kedar as to whether Israel’s movement further to the political right, and Orthodox customs and laws governing the religious practice of Israel, may be the causes of not only the estrangement of the younger secular segment of Israel society, but also of an increasing gap between American Jewry and Israeli Jewry. Dr. Kedar responds that to the extent that this gap exists, it is due to a variety of other factors, including transition of Israel from a socialist type labor intensive society to a high technology capitalistic society, a long drawn out conflict with the Palestinians, increased assimilation by American Jewry, and the decrease of attendance of American Jewish children at parochial Jewish schools. He further asserts that if the gap is to be narrowed, both sides have to be ready to compromise, and he raises concern of changes moving too quickly. In the podcast, Dr. Kedar also raises questions regarding the relationship of American Jewry to Israel.
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger – Webinar – Sorting out Arab Talk v. Arab Walk.
An illuminating analysis by Ambassador (Ret) Ettinger of the history of the diplomatic negotiations of the Western World (particularly the U.S.) with Arab countries, particularly in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He cites examples of the United States historically placing too much emphasis on the Arab countries’ aggressive pro-Palestinian rhetoric demanding resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a perceived prerequisite for successful diplomatic negotiations on other issues. According to Ambassador Ettinger, this approach has typically resulted in failed negotiations. Why? Because, as he states, the U.S (and the West) have given more credence to Arab talk than Arab walk! On the other hand, Ambassador Ettinger explains in detail why a different approach accounted for the successful negotiations leading to the peace treaties between Israel and Jordan, and between Israel and Egypt, notwithstanding the lack of resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He suggests that in today’s world, emphasizing deterrence of the mutual threats posed to the Arab countries by Iran, Moscow and Beijing, would be more productive as relating to “Arab walk”, than trying to respond to Arab rhetoric that is only “Arab talk.” An interesting aspect of this webinar is Ambassador Ettinger’s clever use of Texas imagery (e.g., East Texas armadillos lying in the middle of the road and West Texas sandstorms and tumbleweeds) to emphasize his positions. Try not to miss it.
Neil Lazarus – Video – Neil Lazarus – Video – What do Palestinians Think?
Neil Lazarus interviews an approximate 30-year-old Palestinian who grew up in a typical Palestinian refugee camp. Wishing to maintain anonymity for fear of injury or death by his fellow Palestinians, the interviewee was very candid in his responses to questions posed on the video. He admits that as a child, he resented the IDF, the lack of freedom to even have a place to play, and the freedom that Israelis appeared to show compared to his fellow Palestinians. Now, as an adult, he recognizes that there are employment opportunities he has had with Israeli businesses that would normally not have received if he had been more belligerent. He also does not want to think of himself as being a victim, and he consequently successfully attended a specialty school to learn English, a language which he believes will allow himself to be more successful. He believes that the Palestinian leadership has failed to adequately look out for the average Palestinian and corruption has been the primary cause of this lack of leadership. He is optimistic about the future.
Neil Lazarus – Video – Should Israel Annex the West Bank?
Neil Lazarus presents an objective analysis of the pros and cons of Israel’s annexation of lands in the West Bank, complicated by the fact that there are currently three separate principal annexation plans. Israelis (and arguably world Jewry) are faced with the reasons For annexation: Security ( a wider Israel without West Bank looking down on Israel’s main population), Religiously Important (biblical Judea and Samaria to be part of Israel), and General Israeli Support, compared to Against annexation: Potential Demographic Threat (concern that Israel will cease to be a Jewish state), Strategic Cost (disruption in friendly Arab Countries), and Economic Cost (Israel will eventually have to bail out a failed Palestinian colony, including attend to absorbing all refugees). Summer will tell.
Neil Lazarus – Video – Middle East Unmasked! COVID-19 Adds to Confusion
What was already the most complex area of the world has become even more so with the onset of the COVID –19 virus. Neil Lazarus, well known expert on Middle East affairs, traces the fast-moving developments that makes yesterdays news history. Has the coronavirus stopped globalization in its tracks? Undermined democratic principles? How has the discovery and export by Israel of gas neutralized the longstanding leverage by the oil producing countries? Is the West which has historically conducted diplomacy or waged wars with countries on the basis of established borders capable of dealing with diverse ethnicities, tribes, and loyalties that transcend borders? Is Lebanon and Syria on the brink of collapse or just now flexing their muscle? And what about Iran – who has found the perfect way to wage war – on the other countries’ territories using proxy armies? Come and have Neil Lazarus guide you through this morass.
Alma Research & Education Center – Article – Alma’s Weekly Report
This is one of the weekly reports being published by Alma Research Center containing a summary of events occurring in Syria and in Lebanon, particularly at the border with Israel. The report typically includes a printed narrative, where possible with photos, of relevant activity, particularly near the borders with Israel, as well as a live narrative by Sarit Zehavi, CEO of Alma Research Center. This example report in April 2020 features the status and effect of the coronavirus in Syria and Lebanon for that week, activities in Syria for that week reflecting the increasing influence of Iran and Russia in that country, and the increased activities of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Alma Research & Education Center – Video – On the Road along the Border
An example of one of the video reports by Sarit Zehavi, CEO of Alma, as she travels by auto inspecting the Israeli border with Lebanon and Syria. This includes Sarit’s narrative description, with photos, of Hezbollah’s penetration of a fence defining the border between Israel and Lebanon
NGO Monitor – Webinar – How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream for a Right of Return has Obstructed all Paths to Peace – NGO Monitor review of the book: “The War of Return.”
In 1948, as a consequence of the failed attempt by the Arabs and Arab countries to eradicate the Jewish people from their partitioned portion of the British Mandate, approximately seven hundred thousand Arabs vacated their homes to become the initial refugees of the War of Independence. Now, more than seventy year later, millions of their descendants still register as original refugees of the 1948 war, demanding to not only be resettled, but resettled only in the State of Israel under a theory they refer to as a “right of return”. The webinar sets out the reasons why there is no legal or moral support for this “right of return” theory. Notwithstanding, unlike countless groups of refugees displaced in the aftermath of World War II and other conflicts, who have resettled (and even flourished) in their adoptive home, Arab refugees have historically looked to a receptive international community to support their dream of returning to the State of Israel – a land in which most of the current refugees have never lived. And, for the reasons set out in the webinar, it has been the Western indulgence of this dream that has been the principal reason why none of the peace negotiations has been successful. This is an extremely insightful analysis of a situation in which we have met the enemy – and the enemy is us.
NGO Monitor – Webinar – Terrorists Disguised as Human Rights Activists
Olga Deutsch of NGO Monitor traces the origin of the NGOs (non-governmental organizations), typically European based non-profit organizations. Initially formed as citizen- based associations to deliver and serve social, humanitarian, or human rights purposes, they are government funded but operating independent of government control. As such, they are typically non-transparent with little accountability. As explained in the webinar, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has enabled many of these NGOs being taken over by Palestinian terrorist organizations, disguised as human rights organizations, engaged in anti-activities tied to hatred and terror, while wittingly and unwittingly being funded by European governments, particularly the European Union. Disclosure of these nefarious activities has been successful through extensive research of the NGO funding sources and disclosure to the relevant governmental organizations. A challenge now particular exists due to the diversion of funding intended to fight the Covid-19 pandemic to these terrorists backed NGOs, all as described in this webinar.
StandWithUs – Video – Grill the Experts
This video captures the collective knowledge and experience of Neil Lazarus, internationally acclaimed expert in the fields of Middle East politics and public diplomacy; Charlotte Korchak, senior educator and director of international student programs at StandWithUs Israel; and Max Samarov, StandWithUs executive director of research and strategy. This is the opportunity to listen to their views regarding such varied topics as Israel’s future, the preservation of natural resources, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the opportunities for peace in the Middle East.
Israel’s Contributions to the World
IsraAID – Video – Israel Aids Puerto Rico
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria impacted Puerto Rico and devastated the entirety of the island causing a major humanitarian crisis. Maria made landfall at high-end Category 4 status, bringing an excessive storm surge, heavy rains, and wind gusts exceeding 100 mph, flattening neighborhoods, and crippling the island’s power grid. At least 3000 fatalities and in excess of US $90 billion in damage resulted. The very first humanitarian group to arrive to aid the injured, rescue residents, provide necessary medical assistance, and later aid in rebuilding the stricken neighborhoods, was IsraAID. IsraAID is still on the ground in Puerto Rico providing support to communities recovering from Hurricane Maria.
IsraAID – Video – Israel trains Mental Health Workers to Treat PTSD
IsraAID and Israel’s Bar-ilan University hosted 15 Yazidi and Christian mental health workers from the Kurdish region of Iraq for a first-of-its-kind, intensive two-week training workshop on treating the symptoms of PTSD. These women treat thousands of people who experienced the atrocities committed by ISIS, including the trauma of the Yazidi Genocide and sex slavery. Equipped with the training they received in Israel, these women will return home to help the survivors of such trauma, while also taking care of themselves. This will ensure proper care is given to Yazidi survivors, helping to rehabilitate their mental health and strengthen their resilience.
IsraAID – Video – A Safe Place for Children in Palorinya, Uganda – IsraAID
In October 2019, IsraAID joined with the community to open a new safe space for refugee and host community children in Iboa village, Palorinya, Uganda.
Jewish National Fund (JNF) – Video – Heroes to Heroes
Video describes how partnership aims to connect American wounded combat veterans of all conflicts who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), moral injury and/or depression, with the land and the people of Israel, particularly Israeli FIDF veterans, and develop a new stream of “Positively Israel” messaging, with former service members as ambassadors. Heroes to Heroes is well regarded for providing spiritual healing and peer support programming with veterans traveling to Israel for spiritual and emotional experiences.
Jewish National Fund – Podcast – Gender Issues in the IDF
An interview with Lt. Col. Oshrat Bachar, the first female combat – battalion commander in the Israel Defense Forces. Lt. Col. Bachar now serves as the commander in charge of gender equality in the IDF, where she has assisted in efforts to integrate women, shape sexual harassment strategy, and change the narrative for LGBTQ soldiers. This video documents Israel’s leadership in this area.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) – Video – How Effective is Medical Cannabis?
BGU’s Professor Victor Novack reports the evidence -based research on the effectiveness of medical cannabis. In this webinar, he shares his insights into using marijuana to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia, autism, cancer and more.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Webinar – Global Climate Change: Know the Future From the Past
What do past climate changes tell us about present day and future environmental changes? Hebrew University, through the leadership of Professor Torfstein, uses research to reconstruct past climate changes through the investigation of geochemical and sedimentary processes in marine and lacustrine archives and compares the findings to today’s measures. Without surprise, research has shown that climate changes, and the effects of climate changes, are principally influenced by the sun rays and where and how the sun rays impact the Earth. Thus, natural occurrences like the degree of tilt of the Earth’s axis, the extent of wobble of the earth as it orbits, changes in the orbit itself, and the degree of Earth’s rotation all will naturally affect climate change and the consequent fluctuation of sea levels. Additional effects on climate change have been measured by fluctuations in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which varies the amount of the sun’s radiation that is absorbed. This research by Hebrew University is essential to the Earth’s future.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Webinar – COVID–19 Math: Why Social Distancing Matters and Why It is Not a Quick Fix.
Professor Ligett presents a clear and concise explanation of the mathematics underlying the control of the coronavirus spread. Using the generally accepted SIR Model, namely R factor Ro = persons susceptible / infectious / recovered, the objective is to avoid the R factor R0 > 1 ( indicating an undesirable increase of virus spread), and preferably have the R factor R0 < 1 (indicating a desirable fading away of the virus.) This objective is accomplished by reducing the numbers of persons who are susceptible (vulnerable) and/or infectious (by being sick and /or contagious) and/or increasing the numbers of persons who are no longer sick (have become immune or died). Health measures found to meet these mathematic objectives are (i) social distancing and good hygiene to buy time for vaccine development and avoid overwhelming medical systems, (ii) extensive testing and contact tracing while controlled relaxing of social distancing, and (iii) increasing numbers of people developing immunity before a vaccine. Technology has been found to increase the prospect of contact tracing, but its use is slowed by privacy factors. While the modeling can become more sophisticated (e.g., broken out by vulnerability of groups of people by age or health), the basic math applies. The webinar raises the possibility of one day reporting or forecasting the R factor in the same manner we report or forecast temperature or (relative) humidity.
Technion – Webinar – The Israel Advantage in Conquering Covid–19
This webinar focuses upon the extensive activity by Technion alumni engaged in collaboratively developing solutions for global healthcare, including those directed at conquering Covid – 19. Israel’s expertise and leadership in this area is referred to as “The Israel Advantage”. Featured in this webinar is Technion alumnus Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief medical and innovation officer of Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest hospital. Dr. Zimlichman discusses the research in Israel developing digital health solutions for global healthcare as well as the current activities in Israel to combat the Covid – 19 virus. These activities are proceeding on multiple fronts, including investigating the use of drugs that have been developed for other purposes to potentially alleviate the effects of Covid- 19, the development of new drugs specifically targeted to alleviate the effects of Covid-19, and ultimately, the development of a vaccine to prevent the acquisition of the Covid-19 virus. Dr. Zimlichman describes the favorable results arising from the use of cell therapy to conquer the Covid-19 virus.
Technion – Video – From Race Cars to Lifesaving Lung Therapy
Dr. Josue Sznitman, Assistant Professor of The Technion, explains how his understanding and love of race car design has provided the basic understanding and knowledge of the law of aerodynamics that he has now refined and used in developing new techniques for drug delivery to the lungs and the use of liquid foam in inhalation therapy treatment.