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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
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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

It’s interesting that a panel on Jewish-Arab co-existence features two Jews and four Arabs. It reminds me of those NPR reports on Jewish settlements which feature a debate between a PLO official and a journalist from Ha’aretz. Even handed…

And who is missing from the panel on co-existence? Obviously, folks like you and me on either side of the debate, religious Jews and religious Muslims. We are not in the conference’s narrative. But in reality, the only meaningful exchanges on Jewish-Arab co-existence have been conducted between men of God on both side.

It’s a good thing that numerically we’re going to be the only ones around in 20 years, but not if you were to ask this conference’s organizers.

The conference will kick off with its trademark “My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow” plenary session, in which Google’s Schmidt, world champion swimmer Keren Leibovitch, Israel’s minister of defense Ehud Barak and Nobel Prize laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman will each present their own unique ingredients for a “better tomorrow.”

Personally, I would have grave doubts accepting from Ehud barak his recipe for French fries, much less for a better tomorrow. As to Google, as long as they continue to locate Jerusalem as an independent entity in Asia, no relations to the state of Israel, I have grave doubts about Eric Schmidt’s and my idea about tomorrow.

Among other sessions planned for Facing Tomorrow 2012 are “Europe – Between Unity and Division” (hope they’ll invite a European person to speak); “Israel’s Security in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring” and “The Brain – Can Machines Improve Humans?”

Yes they can, and eventually those improved humans will grow up to run presidential conferences.

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.


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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.

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