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36 minutes | 6 months ago
Inside the Normalization Agreements Between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain
For the final episode of the season, the podcast focuses on a very significant step for Israel: the recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Unlike with past peace partners Egypt and Jordan, Israel never fought either Gulf country on the battlefield. However, converging regional thinking, economic incentives, and shifting discourse about the indigenous roots of the Jewish people mean that these agreements have the potential to reshape the Middle East. The episode features two guests who know the motivations and behind-the-scenes negotiations that shaped the agreements better than almost anyone else: the Emirati and Bahraini ambassadors to the United States. Yousef al-Otaiba has represented the UAE in that role since 2008 and was promoted to the rank of minister in 2017. Otaiba is credited with being the leading architect of the breakthrough with Israel. H. E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Rashed Al Khalifa has served as Bahrain’s ambassador since 2017 and was previously in charge of the kingdom’s Southern Governorate. This is one of the only joint interviews that they have done together since the breakthrough was announced. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
37 minutes | 7 months ago
Ariel Sharon’s Road from Settlement Building to Gaza Withdrawal
Israel’s Ariel Sharon gained early renown for his battlefield courage and notoriety for his strident opposition to Palestinian statehood. But Sharon, who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, was not an ideologue. When he saw pragmatic opportunities to advance Israel’s long-term interests, he pursued them, explaining his leading role in the 2005 Gaza disengagement plan. The program entailed the evacuation of some eight thousand Jewish residents in twenty-one settlements in Gaza, in addition to four settlements in the West Bank, causing much dismay among the prime minister’s former acolytes. Yet Sharon made what he considered the right choice, thereby improbably advancing Palestinian claims to statehood. Gaza disengagement would mark an endpoint in Ariel Sharon’s political evolution and endure as one of his most significant legacies. In this episode of Decision Points, David Makovsky discusses Sharon with two figures intimately engaged in the Gaza disengagement: Stephen Hadley, who served as President George W. Bush’s national security advisor, and Dubi Weissglas, Sharon’s closest policy advisor when he was prime minister and an architect of disengagement.Clips UsedIsraeli cabinet approves Gaza withdrawal 14-7 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
38 minutes | 7 months ago
Hafiz al-Assad and the Elusive Quest for Syrian-Israeli Peace
For the past decade, Syria has been a killing field on which the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been a ruthless perpetrator. As a result, international players now view the Syrian leader as a pariah. Under the rule of Bashar’s father, Hafiz al-Assad, Syria employed harsh tactics and embodied rejection of Israel, but the former president also responded to regional changes amid the loss of his Soviet patron and the end of the Cold War. Reluctantly, he flirted with an Israeli peace as a means to retrieve the Golan Heights. Now, as other Arab capitals pursue rapprochement with Jerusalem, the question reemerges of how close Assad and his interlocutors came to a deal in the 1990s. In this episode of Decision Points, David Makovsky talks with three individuals closely involved in the Syrian-Israeli peace process: former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel Edward Djerejian; former member of the U.S. peace team and translator for presidents and secretaries of state Gamal Helal; and Institute International Fellow and former member of the Israeli negotiating team on Syria Michael Herzog.Clips UsedIsrael/Syria - Christopher Meets Rabin & AssadSYRIA: FOREIGN MINISTER FAROUK AL SHARAA INTERVIEW See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
43 minutes | 7 months ago
A Behind the Scenes Account of King Hussein and Jordanian-Israeli Peace Ties
When King Hussein ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen, he dedicated his life to building a peaceful and prosperous Jordan. His reign was far from simple, however—he faced multiple wars abroad, a civil war at home, assassination attempts, and diplomatic crises. Throughout this tumultuous period, he maintained one secret connection that would only be made official years later: his relationship with Israel. The peace treaty signed by the two countries has endured for over twenty-five years and has been an important force for stability in the region. Join David Makovsky for conversations with two guests who knew the king personally: his brother Prince Hassan bin Talal, and Israel’s former Mossad director Efraim Halevy, who was integral to negotiating the bilateral peace. The episode features some never-before-heard revelations about Jordanian-Israeli relations. Washington Institute Director Rob Satloff frames the discussion and provides historical perspective. Audio Clips UsedKing Abdullah Assassinated (1951)King Hussein of Jordan making a Speech about the Israel/Jordan peace agreement See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | 8 months ago
The Enduring Debate over Yasser Arafat’s Strategy and Journey
More than anyone else, Yasser Arafat relished the role of embodying the Palestinian national struggle—even his keffiyeh was shaped to resemble historical Palestine. Some depicted him as a defiant freedom fighter, but he would become reviled by many, especially in the United States and Israel, as an arch-terrorist. His sudden appearance on the international stage came as a peacemaker during the Oslo Accords. What led to that moment, and why couldn’t he clinch the deal to create a sovereign Palestinian state, instead returning to violence? In this episode, David Makovsky hosts Hussein Agha, one of the Palestinian negotiators for the Oslo II agreement and a close advisor to Arafat, and Amos Gilead, former chief of the IDF’s Intelligence Research and Analysis Division. Hussein and Amos have very different opinions regarding the peace process, and this is the first time they have appeared together to discuss Arafat.Audio Clips UsedSYND 7 7 82 ARAFAT INTERVIEWED ON FIGHTING ON BOTH SIDES OF WAR IN LEBANON Signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
35 minutes | 8 months ago
Yitzhak Rabin’s Journey from War Hero to Peacemaker
Yitzhak Rabin was Israel’s first native-born prime minister, and he personified the national ethos throughout his life. At once pragmatic and patriotic, he fought for Israel’s security, survival, and prosperity in both the military and politics. All of his efforts culminated with the Oslo Accords. In this episode, David Makovsky hosts three people who knew Rabin personally: his ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich, his son Yuval Rabin, and Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.Audio Clips UsedWest Bank/Israel - ClashesSigning of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | 8 months ago
Anwar Sadat’s Trip to Jerusalem
On November 19th, 1977, Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt and arguably the leader of the Arab world, stepped off a plane at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. This was the first time an Arab leader set foot in the Jewish state. He was going to go his own way for the restoration of Egyptian land and the cause of peace. Join Abdel Monem Said Aly, CEO of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, to discuss Sadat’s road to Jerusalem.Audio Clips UsedDr. Henry Kissinger (Part 3)Middle East: Sadat's Visit to Israel (B) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
32 minutes | 8 months ago
Menachem Begin and the Bombing of the Osiraq Nuclear Reactor
Throughout his life, Menachem Begin held many titles: leader of the Irgun, an underground revisionist-Zionist militia; leader of the opposition; and prime minister. One value motivated everything he did: the protection of the Jewish people and prevention of a second Holocaust. One of the clearest examples of this principle was Operation Opera, the Israeli raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Join Amos Yadlin, one of the fighter pilots involved in the operation, and Dan Meridor, a cabinet secretary under Begin, to discuss the raid, the development of the “Begin Doctrine,” and the lessons from Osiraq that can be applied to more recent nuclear challenges from Syria and Iran.Audio Clips Usedמבצע אופרה - תקיפת הכור העיראקי | חיל האוויר See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | 9 months ago
Golda Meir and the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre
Raised in America before emigrating to Israel, Golda Meir was the country’s first and only female prime minister, and one of only two women to sign its declaration of independence. A study in contrasts, she was tough on terrorism but also a key player in securing the release of 200,000 Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1970s, sparking a wave of Russian emigration to Israel. Her legacy is viewed differently at home and abroad. Her tenure coincided with several major threats to Israelis—most infamously the “Black September” attack on the Olympic team in Munich. Join David Makovsky for this episode, which features interviews with Meir biographer Francine Klagsbrun and journalist who focuses on Israeli counterterrorism history and author of the bestselling Rise and Kill First, Ronen Bergman, to discuss Israel’s reaction and response to the attack.Audio Clips UsedUPITN 26 11 74 MEIR SPEECH AT MEETING9/5/72: Munich Olympics Massacre See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
35 minutes | 9 months ago
Shimon Peres and the Development of Israel’s Nuclear Program
Shimon Peres’s contributions spanned the first seven decades of Israeli history, making his life inseparable from that of the country itself. Often remembered as a leading statesman, not a soldier, he is nevertheless credited with establishing the Israeli defense industry and making the controversial decision to pursue a nuclear program—a move predicated on close relations with France, the looming memory of the Holocaust, and numerous geostrategic considerations. In this episode, host David Makovsky is joined by Shai Feldman, a leading expert on nuclear history, and Nimrod Novik, a close advisor of Peres, for a discussion on the late leader’s pivotal role in Israel's nuclear development. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
35 minutes | 9 months ago
David Ben-Gurion and the Decision to Declare the State of Israel
On May 14, 1948, the British were scheduled to bring an end to the British Mandate in Palestine. The question on the table for the Jewish community in Palestine was existential: to immediately declare a state and risk invasion by better-armed Arab states or accept an international ceasefire? Join leading Israeli historian Anita Shapira to discuss the dramatic cabinet debate and David Ben Gurion’s decision to declare the state. Audio Clips UsedPalestine Partitioned - 1947 | Today In History | 29 Nov 18 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
2 minutes | 9 months ago
Season 2 Trailer
This season of Decision Points features episodes on key leaders on the Israeli and Arab sides, focusing on an intersection between their biographies and a key moment that exemplifies their decision-making, from the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre to Anwar Sadat’s historic trip to Jerusalem. Each episode will tell the story of an important leader, highlighting their contributions to Israeli-Arab-American relations over the last 70 years. The first episode is coming out August 19th on David Ben-Gurion. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | a year ago
Can Hi-Tech Transform the U.S.-Israel Relationship?
This episode discusses the growth of Israel’s hi-tech sector and its impact on relations with the United States. Much of the state’s technological innovation has stemmed from its unique history, geography, and culture, proving that necessity truly is the mother of invention. Today, technology plays a key role in the bilateral relationship, including strong ties between military research institutes in both countries, multiple congressional allocations of hi-tech military hardware in times of war, joint technology projects outside the defense sector, and the growing presence of American technology companies such as Intel, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and HP.Dan Shapiro and Dan Senor join host David Makovsky to discuss the role that hi-tech has played in the relationship. Shapiro served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel from July 2011 to January 2017 and is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. Senor is the coauthor of the bestseller Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (with Saul Singer) and a leading expert on the country’s hi-tech and business sectors. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | a year ago
The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Challenge
This episode focuses on the growing threat of a nuclear Iran and U.S.-Israeli efforts to contain it over the years. The two allies have long considered various diplomatic and military options for addressing their shared concerns, though there have been points of disagreement, particularly over the “sunset” limitations put forth in the 2015 nuclear deal. Given the recent assassination of Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani, recalling the intersections and divergences between their Iran policies has become more valuable than ever. Howard Berman and David Petraeus join host David Makovsky to discuss these issues and Tehran’s broader role in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Rep. Berman (D-CA) served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2013, chairing the Foreign Affairs Committee and becoming a top foreign policy figure, particularly on Iranian matters. Gen. David Petraeus has a long, distinguished career of public service as well, culminating in his appointment as CIA director in 2011. Previously, he served thirty-seven years in the U.S. Army, including as head of CENTCOM.Audio Clips UsedThe President Announces a Historic Nuclear Deal with IranComplete Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Address to Joint Meeting of Congress (C-SPAN) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
42 minutes | a year ago
U.S., Israel and the Palestinians: Oslo, Gaza and Beyond
This episode focuses on one of the toughest issues in the world, namely efforts by the US to reconcile the Zionist national movement, or Israel, and the Palestinian national movement. The interviews focus on two key moments in recent decades that aimed to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer to peace: the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords were significant because these talks marked Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian nationalist movement. Rabin sacrificed more than just political capital for these efforts: he lost his life for them, to an assassin’s bullet at a peace rally in Tel Aviv in November 1995. A decade later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose to pull out 8,000 settlers from Gaza. Sharon was the architect of the settlement movement and, therefore, had a unique political credibility to make this decision. Host David Makovsky discusses this these moments with two individuals who were both personally involved. Tzipi Livni has served as Israeli foreign minister, justice minister, opposition leader, and head of the Israeli negotiating team during the 2013-2014 Kerry peace talks. Dennis Ross is David's colleague at the Washington Institute and co-author of Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped its Destiny (which features chapters on both the Oslo Accords and Gaza disengagement). He has served in multiple US administrations, including as Middle East envoy and chief negotiator in the H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. Audio Clips UsedSigning of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
36 minutes | a year ago
Cold War Geopolitics and Freedom for Soviet, Ethiopian, and Syrian Jews
This episode focuses on the immigration of Soviet, Ethiopian, and Syrian Jewry to Israel, the impact of which has been massive. Over a million Jews moved to Israel at the end of the Cold War alone, greatly increasing its small population and bringing professional backgrounds that helped trigger a high-tech boom. The United States played a key role in all three of these immigration waves, using economic, diplomatic, and military means to support them.Host David Makovsky discusses this transformative cooperation with Natan Sharansky and Malcolm Hoenlein. Sharansky embodied the Soviet Jewry movement in the 1970s and 1980s, uttering the iconic words “Next year in Jerusalem” that captured hearts around the world and landed him on the cover of Time magazine. He recently completed a nine-year term as chair of the Jewish Agency, the Israeli organization that links Jewish communities around the world. Hoenlein has been a dominant figure in American Jewish groups for decades, most recently completing thirty-two years as executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He has also been a key figure in winning U.S. government support for persecuted Jewish communities.Audio Clips UsedFreedom Sunday See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | a year ago
Begin, Sadat and Carter: Camp David Breakthrough
This episode focuses on the first Arab-Israeli peace breakthrough, the Camp David Accords of 1978. Camp David resulted from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s electrifying visit to Jerusalem. It also required political courage from the other two leaders involved—President Jimmy Carter and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, who each took risks that put them at odds with domestic allies. The resultant Egypt-Israel peace treaty has had a remarkable impact on both countries, including an end to decades of interstate wars. And it endures today despite facing many obstacles, including Sadat’s assassination. Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with Dr. Ken Stein, who has been a professor of contemporary Middle Eastern history, political science, and Israel studies at Emory University for forty-three years. Ken has written several books on regional peace negotiations, including Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin, and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace.Audio clips used:RR7748A MIDDLE EAST SADAT'S VISIT TO ISRAELMiddle East: Sadat's Visit to Israel (B) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | a year ago
The 1973 War and the Airlift Delay
This episode focuses on the 1973 war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, a surprise conflict that broke out in an era of detente between the United States and the Soviet Union. One key moment came two weeks into the war, when Washington decided to provide $2.2 billion in strategic air resupply to Israel. This military aid helped turn the tide, with Israel soon positioning forces on the western bank of the Suez Canal, advancing within ten miles of Damascus, and encircling Egypt’s massive Third Army in the Sinai.Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with Martin Indyk, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is currently working on the book Henry Kissinger and the Art of the Middle East Deal. A longtime diplomat, Indyk served as U.S. special envoy on peace negotiations from 2013 to 2014.Audio clips used:10/10/73: Yom Kippur War - ABC News See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
31 minutes | a year ago
The Countdown to the 1967 War: From Embattled Siege to Military Breakthrough
This episode discusses the Johnson administration’s policy in the weeks leading up to the 1967 Six Day War. As that conflict drew near, two Israeli missions to the United States, led by Abba Eban and Meir Amit, encountered the same official focus on Vietnam, yet produced different results by asking different questions. In that sense, 1967 was a major turning point not only in Israel’s history, but also in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with William Quandt, who served with the National Security Council during the Nixon and Carter administrations and took part in the U.S. negotiating team for the Camp David Accords and Egypt-Israel peace treaty in the late 1970s. A longtime professor at the University of Virginia, he has authored several books on U.S. Middle East policy, including Decade of Decision: American Policy Toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1967-76. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
28 minutes | 2 years ago
The Nadir of U.S.-Israel Relations: Between Eisenhower and Nasser
This episode focuses on one of the lowest points in the U.S.-Israel relationship: the 1956 Suez Crisis. At the time, President Eisenhower felt betrayed by Israel, France, and Britain for initiating war after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. The episode highlights ties with allies alongside his desire to win support for Arab nationalist champion Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian leader whom the White House hoped in vain would be a bulwark against the Soviets in the Cold War. How did Eisenhower balance these conflicting impulses? What impact did his decisions have on the future of Nasserism, U.S.-Israel relations, and the American role in the Middle East? What was Eisenhower’s dramatic gamble?Host David Makovsky discusses these and other questions with Michael Doran, a former Princeton University professor, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.Audio Clips Used:"1956 - Suez Crisis""U.N. Meeting on Suez Canal and Israel - Egyptian War Reel 1 (1956)" - British Pathé See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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