web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Special Features
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow” While Facing Away from Observant Jews


"The world's greatest minds come together to discuss how we can make the most of tomorrow's opportunities."

"The world's greatest minds come together to discuss how we can make the most of tomorrow's opportunities."
Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi /FLASH90

Israel Maimon, Chairman of the Facing Tomorrow 2012 conference steering committee, is proud of the way the event “attracts the world’s greatest minds and personalities, all of whom come together in Jerusalem each year to discuss how we can make the most of tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Like any major summer junket, the conference assembles both has-been and just-been celebrities: Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Cisco Systems Chairman John Chambers, President Peres, Ernst & Young Chairman James Turley, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who just strained his hip).

Under the auspices of Israeli President Shimon Peres, this charmed crowd will be in Jerusalem Tuesday, “to tackles vital issues, initiatives and decisions that must be implemented to guarantee a better tomorrow for the world, the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”

I checked out some of the discussion forums, trying to assess if there was anything there that would blow my mind. So I checked out “Tomorrow’s Religion: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?”

“What is the role of religion in shaping tomorrow? How will it influence the development of human society? Can religion, which is part of the current problems, become part of tomorrow’s solutions?”

The answers to these crucial questions will be provided by Professor of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions Guy Stroumsa (moderator); by University College Anthropologist Jonathan Benthall; former Minister for Social Affairs and World Jewry Rabbi Michael Melchior (who is on the short list to succeed Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as GB Chief Rabbi); University of Edinburgh Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies Mona Siddiqui, and Trinity College Professor Mark Silk.

The panel does includes a real rabbi, then, alongside a slew of academics, each of whom will share a portion of the 90 minutes allotted this weighty topic (Thursday, June 21, 2:00 – 3:30 PN). No room will be made for people who actually engage all day long, every day, in their religion, which is why, even if the panel had 10 hours, they would still not be able to come up with exciting answers to whether religion is part of the problem or the solution.

I safely filed this session under “part of the problem” and moved right on.

“Judaism and Democracy: Complementary or Conflicting Values?” doesn’t even feature the obligatory rabbi (Wednesday, June 20, 11:30 – 13:00). The panel does include two politicians: Natan Sharansky, and Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, who must be facing a lot of issues of Judaism vs. democracy in his daily work.

Onward, Jewish soldiers, to “New Interpretations of an Ancient Identity: The Next Jewish Generation” (Wednesday, June 20, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM) moderated by Ha’aretz English edition editor Charlotte Halle. The panel includes rich guy David Hatchwell, president of the Jewish Community of Madrid, who was also a member of the Madrid Vivo Foundation, which prepared the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Spain. Talk about new interpretations of an ancient identity. Then there’s the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, a contributing editor at The Forward, and Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. Oh, and a singer from the Dag Nahash rap band.

Who on this panel has any connection whatsoever to me, to my shul, to our children? What does any of those folks know about the explosion of Torah learning in Israel, about our packed houses of worship, about our proliferation of loan societies, about our irrepressible demographics?

And there’s this gem: “Tomorrow’s Jewish-Arab Coexistence in Israel: Moving Forwards or Backwards?” (Thursday, June 21, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM). The moderator is Arab radio journalist Eman Kassem-Sliman, who told the NY Times: “I am not a Jew, how can I belong to a Jewish state? If they define this as a Jewish state, they deny that I am here.” You see where the discussion is going? Then there’s Dr. Masad Barhoum, the first Arab director of a government-run hospital in Israel since the establishment of the state, who’s  a decent man with remarkably sober and honest views; Shlomo Buhbut, Mayor of the Arab-Jewish city of Maalot Tarshicha, who actually knows a thing or two about coexistence; Mohammad Darawshe, who praised MK Ahmed Tibi and some 40 Iasraeli Arab politicians who visited Libya’s then president Muammar Gadhafi; Amal Elsana Alh’jooj (I actually like her), and Professor Sammy Smooha, from the University of Haifa’s Jewish-Arab Center.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow” While Facing Away from Observant Jews”

  1. Stephen Leavitt says:

    To be fair, the political session on Israel's borders looks like it has a balanced panel with relevant panelists, due to the inclusion of Naftali Bennett and Caroline Glick.And the science and economic panels seem to have relevant panelists.

    But, the glaring absence of representation from the Israeli religious-zionist camp on pretty much any panel discussing Judaism, Jewish identity, Jewish future, Jewish religion, Diaspora relations, Jewish-Arab relations is very disturbing, even more so than the strong leftwing bias of many of the panels and speakers.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    Rabbi Melchior is a Religious Zionist. While one can complain that there should be more representation, "absence" is not accurate.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS executioner holding British aid worker Alan Henning as a hostage.
Muslims Plead with ISIS for Life of UK Aid Worker Alan Henning
Latest Special-features Stories

Gadi Yarkoni, the last person injured during Operation Protective Edge, was released today from Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.

High-rise multi-use tower in Gaza City attacked overnight by IAF, August 26, 2014.

Egypt-based Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk says Gaza landlords are refusing to rent to Hamas terrorists.

Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (in blue shirt, center), benefitted politically - and in a dramatic fashion - from this summer's war.  Photo from Hamas victory rally, Aug. 27, 2014.

Rockets and violence over diplomacy and passivity is the Palestinian Arab ruling style of choice, as reflected in a PCPSR poll.

Funeral of Shachar Shalev.

The body of 1st Sgt. Shachar Shalev was laid to rest this afternoon in the cemetery in Hipsin.

The recent war in Gaza is not expected to inflict any lasting damage on economic performance.

Cabinet holds special session in Ashkelon, faces criticism from local residents, officials over lack of aid package

Sgt. Shahar Shalev, an IDF paratrooper who was critically wounded in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, has died of his wounds. His death brings the number of Israeli casualties from Operation Protective Edge to 72. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Hamas’ supreme leader Khaled Mashaal dashed any hopes of long-term peace with Israel in a speech in Qatar on Thursday in which he shot from the hip at Israel and also at his terrorist organization’s new partner, the rival Fatah movement headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. His lengthy speech in Qatar, which has […]

Iconic pro-Israel comedian Joan Rivers is in critical condition following a throat procedure.

In the wake of a 12th Israel-Gaza cease-fire, Britain’s Jews and Muslims have issued a joint call for peace.

Only time PLO seems interested in justice for Palestinians is when Israel is involved

For years, Binyamin Netanyahu’s views on negotiating with terrorists, and on negotiating under fire have been clear: In his defining treatise on the subject Terrorism: How the West Can Win, Netanyahu spelled out clear guidelines for dealing with the scourge of attacks on civilians. Amongst other principles, the then up-and-coming Likud leader said clearly that terrorists must […]

One Arab tried to infiltrate Israel and dozens stoned IDF troops over the Gaza security fence Thursday, as Gazans celebrated their “victory” over Israel by initiating low-level clashes near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. IDF forces responded with warning shots in the air. No injuries or property damage were reported.

Uzi Arad launches ferocious attack on Netanyahu, DM Ya’alon. Praises home front but says pols giving nothing but marketing spin.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations is demanding the world body take action against Hamas for its use of human shields.

Two people were wounded after numerous mortar shells were fired into northern Israel from Syria on Wednesday in 3 separate attacks.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/yoris-daily-news-clips/presidential-conference-facing-tomorrow-while-facing-away-from-observant-jews/2012/06/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: