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What Matters Now

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A weekly exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World right now.

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Jerusalem, Israel

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A weekly exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World right now.

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English


Episodes

What Matters Now to David Horovitz: The conflicts of war coverage

4/11/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan. Speaking in our Jerusalem office, The Times of Israel editor David Horovitz offers a rare in-depth look at the professional challenges and personal conflicts he’s faced in covering the war against Hamas for the past half year. Horovitz gives a candid survey at what it is to run a site that, following the surprise October 7 Hamas infiltration of southern Israel and massacre of 1,200 people, jumped 600% in its readership to become, according to news site Press Gazette, the fastest-growing news website in the world in October and November. The Times of Israel's 24/7 coverage remains unabated as we mark six months of war. So this week we ask Times of Israel editor David Horovitz, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: David Horovitz, editor, The Times of Israel (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:44:53

What Matters Now to Micah Goodman: This is a war of independence for Israelis and Gazans

4/4/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan. In six months of war, Israel has systematically broken down Hamas’s battalions in the Gaza Strip. But in achieving terrible success in its aim to defang the terrorist army, the Jewish state is no longer seen on the world stage as the attacked underdog David, but increasingly reviled as a cruel Goliath. According to many in the West, it is up to Israel to immediately stop the war regardless of Hamas’s clear ability to regroup and again attack, just as the terror group has publicly vowed to do. This week, What Matters Now again speaks with public intellectual and philosopher Dr. Micah Goodman. We revisit the raw conversation we held six months ago, mere days after Hamas’s murderous attack, and see just how right Goodman’s predictions were. In our conversation this week, Goodman explains the completely different framings of the war held by the West and Israel, and how they influence both sides’ actions and words. And we hear about how Israelis, forever changed by the war, are now standing at a crossroads. Can civil society regroup and reemerge from this war stronger, saner and more united? Goodman spent the past six months writing his seventh best-selling book, "Hayom Hashmini" ("The Eighth Day"), which was published in late March. He sees the end of this war as an opportunity for restructuring and revitalizing Israelis, as long as they embrace a new paradigm. So this week, six months to the war, we ask Dr. Micah Goodman, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: Philosopher and public intellectual Dr. Micah Goodman. (Yonit Schiller) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:45:14

What Matters Now to mourning mother Hannah Wacholder Katsman: Personal & national grief

3/28/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. Days after his 32nd birthday, on Saturday, October 7, Hayim Katsman was killed by terrorists from Gaza in his neighbor’s home in Kibbutz Holit while shielding her with his body. His body was identified and the family was notified the next day. He was buried on Thursday of that week. Born to American immigrant parents and one of six children, Hayim was a scholar of philosophy and earned a PhD in political science. He was active in several local peace organizations. He was also a musician, mechanic and a gardener. Hayim’s mother, Hannah Wacholder Katsman, a writer and women’s rights activist, joined Amanda Borschel-Dan this week in The Times of Israel’s Jerusalem office for this week’s What Matters Now. As Hannah wrote in an essay for The Times of Israel, “I realized early on that because Hayim’s death was part of our national story, the mourning would be public.” We hear about her way of openly mourning and how it has helped others with their national grief and of the continuing ripple effect of Hayim’s murder. As the world increasingly forgets what spawned the ongoing war in Gaza, we focus on one son and ask his mother, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. Check out the previous What Matters Now episode: https://omny.fm/shows/times-will-tell/what-matters-now-to-haviv-rettig-gur-is-netanyahu IMAGE: Hayim Katsman, left, and his mother Hannah Wacholder Katsman, in Tel Aviv in 2018. (Tamar Abramson) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:36:18

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Is Netanyahu an obstacle to victory?

3/21/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. In his US Senate floor speech last week, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer called for new Israeli elections as the war winds down and branded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as one of four obstacles to peace along with Hamas, the Israeli far-right and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Throughout the past week, Times of Israel podcast listeners have shared their views on Schumer's speech -- and offered overwhelming support for the most senior elected Jewish politician's "hard truths." For context, a 2020 Pew Research Center survey shows that among the US population, Jews are among the most consistently liberal and Democratic groups with about 70 percent voting Democrat. As Netanyahu increasingly becomes a partisan issue, the prime minister is also increasingly the face of all US Jews detest in how Israel is prosecuting the war in Gaza. This week on What Matters Now, ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur explains how, to a very strong degree, most Israelis don't disagree with Schumer on several of the points made in his 45-minute speech. However, in many key areas, Israelis sharply diverge from liberal US Jewry's thinking, including the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza even as the Israeli hostages are still held by Hamas. A distrust of Netanyahu is hampering the war effort -- especially on the international stage -- but also fraying domestic cohesion, argues Rettig Gur. So this week, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a gathering of Jewish leaders at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, February 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:31:31

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Hamas starves Gazans as a war tactic

3/14/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. On Tuesday, aid for 25,000 people reached Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip for the first time in weeks, according to the UN World Food Program. “With people in northern Gaza on the brink of famine, we need deliveries every day and we need entry points directly into the north,” tweeted the UN agency after the aid's successful entry. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) confirmed that a convoy of six aid trucks entered the northern Gaza Strip through the new military road. The route, stretching from the border near the southern community of Be’eri to the coast of the Strip, is used by the Israel Defense Forces to carry out operations in northern and central Gaza. The successful delivery of the aid was “part of an experimental pilot in order to prevent Hamas from taking over the aid,” said COGAT. UN World Food Program chief Cindy McCain said on Monday that WFP had paused aid deliveries for three weeks “for the safety of our staff and due to the complete breakdown of law and order.” As Gazan gunmen raid aid trucks and abscond with necessary supplies, what is Israel's legal obligation to protect the conveys? This week, as humanitarian aid is being brought into the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: File - Yahia al-Sinwar, the Gaza Strip chief of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, greets supporters as he arrives to attend a rally marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, April 14, 2023. (Mohammed Abed / AFP) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:28:39

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Campus antisemitism makes new Zionists

3/7/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. ToI's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur recently gave a series of lectures at North American college campuses. At some, including Harvard, his lecture was met with a performative walk-out from a contingent of pro-Palestinian protesters. Since Hamas's October 7 murderous onslaught, accounts of campus antisemitism have filled the pages of newspapers, from The Times of Israel and to mainstream international media. On this week's What Matters Now, Rettig Gur and host Amanda Borschel-Dan look at a series of data sets, analyses and essays on the topic of campus antisemitism to get a fuller picture of what's happening on the ground. One large-scale study was started in August 2023 by the ADL Center for Antisemitism Research (CAR), in partnership with Hillel International and facilitated by College Pulse. The groups conducted a nationally representative survey of over 3,084 American college students -- of which 527 were Jewish -- from 689 campuses in the United States to assess the climate on campus for Jewish students. Following the October 7 terror attacks, the researchers conducted a follow-up survey with the same respondents in November 2023. We learn how the campus climate changed between the first and second rounds of polling. So this week, we focus on antisemitism on campus and ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE: Demonstrators rally during a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel rally outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:35:50

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Haredim have to defend Israel, too

2/29/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. This year, in what is reportedly a record-high number, some 66,000 young men from the ultra-Orthodox community received a deferral from military service. Of those tens of thousands of military-age men, following Hamas's murderous October 7 onslaught on Israel and the war it launched, 540 men voluntarily signed up for military service. On Monday, the High Court of Justice determined that the state has until March 24 to explain why its June 2023 resolution -- which instructed the IDF not to draft ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students for nine months -- is legal. The court determined in 1998 that executive action cannot be used as a legal basis for something so far-reaching as military service exemptions for an entire sector of the population. But of course, in June 2023, the government appears to have done just that. That resolution expires on March 31. Will Israel's haredi society begin to shoulder the national defense burden? And what does the IDF need to do to create the proper conditions for increased religious conscription? And if the community is not willing to take up arms, what are other alternatives that it could take on to serve the nation? So this week, as all eyes are on the question of ultra-Orthodox conscription, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:32:26

What Matters Now to Ksenia Svetlova: Russia's new position on the global 'Risk' board

2/22/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. Two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, the conflict is giving all appearances of turning into a "forever war." But in other parts of the world, Russia's influence has arguably grown. This week on What Matters Now, former MK Ksenia Svetlova, an expert in the Middle East and Russia, speaks about how Russia's forces remain throughout the Middle East and how its reach has deepened in Africa. Born in Moscow, Svetlova immigrated to Israel at the age of 14. She is a journalist and analyst and was a member of the 20th Knesset on behalf of the Zionist Union coalition. Unlike most Western countries, Russia sees Hamas as a legitimate political player on the global stage. Next week, Moscow is potentially set to host a peace summit in the hopes of a reconciliation between the terrorist rulers of Gaza and the leadership of the West Bank's Palestinian Authority. Why? Svetlova also shares how Russian citizens are faring after two years of Western sanctions. So this week, after two years of war in Ukraine, we ask Ksenia Svetlova, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: Former MK Ksenia Svetlova, an expert on the Middle East and Russia. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:30:54

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: UNRWA's problem isn't the terrorists in its ranks

2/15/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. The Israel Defense Forces revealed this week that beneath the Gaza Strip headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the controversial aid organization known commonly as UNRWA, the Hamas terror group hid one of its most significant assets, a subterranean data center. As witnessed by ToI military reporter Emanuel Fabian, cables were discovered running from a UNRWA server room to the Hamas data center underground. According to ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur, however, Hamas's infiltration of UNRWA should be taken as a given. The great "evil" behind the United Nation's outfit, the only humanitarian aid on the ground, is the fact that it is more of an ideology than an aid organization. We hear about UNRWA's origin story and how its mission will only be fulfilled when the State of Israel no longer exists. So in this week of proof of UNRWA workers' collaboration with Hamas, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. Image: Senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur and deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan at The Times of Israel's Jerusalem office. (Eli Katoff) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:31:42

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Clashing visions of victory

2/8/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is “within touching distance of absolute victory,” and that Hamas’s defeat will be the “victory of the entire free world.” In a rebuttal to the prime minister, five women released from captivity in Gaza during a weeklong truce in late November stated that "absolute victory" for Israel would only come with the release of the remaining 136 hostages. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is hosting a summit of foreign ministers from five countries in the region -- Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, along with a representative from the Palestinian Authority -- to advance a united Arab stance regarding the war in Gaza as well as political initiatives for when the fighting ends. The united front that Israel’s Arab partners and potential allies are building is increasingly at odds with the Israeli government. And finally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned Israel that it does not have “a license to dehumanize others,” the harshest criticism from the United States to date. So in this week of statements and conflicting stances, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. Image: Times of Israel senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:35:34

What Matters Now to author Shlomo Brody: Jewish ethics and the Israel-Hamas War

2/1/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. Israel often prides itself on being the most moral army in the world. Whether you subscribe to that or not, there is a long history of ethical thinking that influences its operations on the ground. This week on What Matters Now, we speak with Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody, the author of the new and extremely timely book, “Ethics of Our Fighters: A Jewish View on War and Morality.” With rabbinic ordination and a PhD from Bar-Ilan Law School, Brody is the executive director of Ematai, an organization dedicated to helping Jews navigate dilemmas regarding aging, end-of-life treatment, and organ donation. His previous book, "A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates,” was a National Jewish Book Award winner. In our wide-ranging conversation, we speak about the history of Jewish military ethics, starting from the Bible, through rabbinical literature and the blossoming of thinking from just before the foundation of the State of Israel and onward. The applications of military ethics in the current Israel-Hamas War are unprecedented. We hear about how taking a stance of self-defense may help guide Israel as the conflict continues, and potentially spreads. So this week, we ask author Shlomo Brody, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:32:09

What Matters Now to Yossi Klein Halevi: 5 big questions about the war

1/26/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. This week we're bringing excerpts from a Behind the Headlines video interview with author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, conducted exclusively for our Times of Israel Community. A senior fellow and the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Klein Halevi is the author of books including, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” and “Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist.” Drawing on themes from both of those books, as well as his other work, we asked Klein Halevi to answer five big questions about the war. We touch on topics including, what "Never Again" means to Israelis today and how the Jewish community should relate to the anti-Zionist Jewish youth protesting on university campuses. So this week, we ask thinker Yossi Klein Halevi, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: Author Yossi Klein Halevi (Shalom Hartman Institute) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:57:00

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What Israelis think about the suffering in Gaza

1/18/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, over 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation to the bloody invasion by 3,000 terrorists from Gaza who massacred 1,200 -- mostly civilians -- and took over 240 hostages to Gaza. And while it is clear that Hamas began the war, it's also clear that Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are being used as human shields to tactically and cynically generate public outcry against Israel. In a difficult and sensitive conversation, ToI's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur delves into Israelis' awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the death toll, and how much this is taken into account by Israelis, who are still overwhelmingly supportive of the stated goal of toppling Hamas. Rettig Gur shares conversations he's had with staunch pro-Israel supporters in the United States and United Kingdom and an interesting idea that came out of them in which Israel could be an active player in ameliorating the suffering of the people of Gaza. So this week, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (Courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:41:05

What Matters Now to Mishy Harman: 3 'postcards' from wartime Israel

1/11/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. This week on What Matters Now, we're again handing the mic to Mishy Harman, the co-founder of The Times of Israel’s podcast partner, Israel Story, the premiere narrative English-language podcast from Israel. Since the October 7 massacre across southern Israel by Hamas of some 1,200 individuals, mostly civilians, Harman and his team at Israel Story have pivoted from their long-form, carefully nurtured episodes to producing almost daily Wartime Diaries. We at The Times of Israel asked the Israel Story team to compile a few episodes and after much deliberation, together we selected three: Wartime Diaries: Shira Masami More than 200,000 Israelis – from both the South and the North – have been forced to leave their homes since the start of the war. Some have relocated to hotels or kibbutzim, others have opted to move in with family or friends, or else even rent apartments in entirely new surroundings. In today’s episode we get a glimpse of what that reality feels like. Shira Masami is one of nearly 30,000 residents who have left the southern city of Sderot – a city that suffered a horrendous attack on October 7 – and who are now dispersed around the country. Wartime Diaries: Charlene Seidle Upwards of $1 billion in donations have been sent to Israel since the start of the war. For years, Charlene Seidle, the Executive Vice President of the San Diego-based Leichtag Foundation, has been at the forefront of the Jewish philanthropic world. While the Leichtag Foundation supports various causes in the States and in Israel, their main local focus is bridging social and economic gaps in Jerusalem. Leichtag has given life to hundreds of grassroots initiatives and has created the ‘Jerusalem Model’ – a diverse network of social entrepreneurs, activists and leaders from all sectors around town – Jews, Muslims, Christians, religious, secular, etc. Since Charlene and her team have been nurturing and cultivating these relationships for so long, they were particularly well-situated to understand the needs on the ground in the immediate aftermath of October 7th. Wartime Diaries: Omer Ohana The war has brought many new people into the limelight: For nearly three months we’ve been hearing countless stories of casualties, hostages, survivors and family members, many of whom have entered our hearts and never left. In some cases we feel like we’ve gotten to know these unsung heroes personally. One of the first big stories of the war, in that initial crazy week after October 7, was that of 30-year-old Sagi Golan from Herzliya – a decorated officer in an anti-terrorism unit who was killed in action in Be’eri in the early hours of October 8. His story made headlines because Sagi was supposed to have married his partner, Omer Ohana, two weeks later, and his death brought to the fore – once again – the matter of the army and LGBTQ rights. Though the IDF has recognized same-sex partners of fallen soldiers as eligible for full financial and emotional support since the mid-1990s, the matter had never been enshrined in law. So in the weeks after Sagi’s death, Omer led a successful campaign to legally secure the rights of same-sex and common-law partners of fallen soldiers. So this week, we ask Mishy Harman, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: (Clockwise from top right) Shira Masami; Sagi Golan (left) and Omer Ohana; Charlene Seidle (courtesy Israel Story) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:01:03:31

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: How the court just redefined its own powers

1/4/2024
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. This week the Supreme Court delivered a long-awaited decision on whether or not it would repeal the one piece of judicial overhaul legislation passed by the so-called pure right coalition under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Held on September 12, the hearing in front of a full bench of all 15 Supreme Court justices made for a day-long media event. Citizens across the country became armchair legal experts and held watch parties. Since the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7, the existential discussion about Israel's democracy has been sidelined. But with this ruling, along with a second Supreme Court decision this week, the judicial overhaul and all of its surrounding debate have again made headlines. To parse out the ruling and how it may — or may not — rekindle fears of a societal schism, Times of Israel senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur joins this week's podcast for an informal, but hopefully informative chat. So this week, as the Supreme Court redefines its own powers, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. Photo: ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:36:42

What Matters Now to US Jewish leader William Daroff: Where are our allies?

12/28/2023
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. Within days of the murderous October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel, William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, headed a mission of 50 heads of Jewish legacy organizations back to Israel, where he was when the massacre occurred. In conversation with The Times of Israel this week, he describes how following the brutal slaying of 1,200 mostly citizens and hostage-taking of dozens of others, a second punch in the gut awaited him back in the United States. "While we were punched in the gut by what you experienced here, we get punched in the gut by what we experienced in America -- an incredible disconnect, a moment of cognitive dissonance where our allies, our neighbors, the people we work with, the people that we have marched with -- seemed to not get it, seemed to not understand the tragedy that had occurred. And continue to not get it.” We speak about the November 14 March for Israel rally, which brought an unprecedented 290,000 to the Washington, DC, National Mall. And how, at this moment, pernicious TikTok algorithms may dictate how the next generation of American Jewry views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This week, we ask long-time American Jewish leader William Daroff, where American Jews can go from here and what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations William Daroff at the site of the October 7 Supernova rave massacre, December 25, 2023. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:37:23

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Wartime polls & unexpected conclusions

12/21/2023
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. The past several weeks have seen the publication of a slew of high-profile opinion surveys on the war with Hamas. They include deep looks into the psyche of the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Gaza and a probe into how Israeli Jews and Arabs differ in perspectives. Out of the United States, there are a few surveys that take the temperature of the American electorate during the war with Hamas. Among those with findings featured in the podcast is the poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR). Between November 22 and December 2, questions were asked of 1231 adults, of whom 750 were interviewed face to face in the West Bank and 481 in the Gaza Strip. The findings are eye-opening. Next, we speak in depth about the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, an online survey within the United States from December 13-14 among 2,034 registered voters. Rettig Gur notes that on several questions, voters in the 18-24 age group seemed to express contradicting or muddled views. He explains why. We also speak about The New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,016 registered US voters that was conducted by telephone from December 10 to 14. With similar, yet different questions about the war with Hamas, it is interesting to compare findings with the previous survey. Finally, we discuss the Israel Democracy Institute's seventh flash survey that was carried out between December 11–13, with 503 men and women interviewed via the internet and by telephone in Hebrew and 101 in Arabic. The schisms in Israeli society are made crystal clear. This week on What Matters Now, ToI's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur sits down for a frank discussion of some of the polls' findings in the first of an ongoing series of bi-weekly conversations on varied topical issues. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:48:18

What Matters Now to Prof. Amichai Cohen: Is the IDF acting legally in Gaza?

12/14/2023
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. Is the IDF acting legally and ethically in Gaza? We at The Times of Israel recently held an hour-long webinar on this topic for our Times of Israel Community with Prof. Amichai Cohen of the Israel Democracy Institute. Cohen is a recognized expert in the International Law of Armed Conflict, National Security Law, and Civil-Military Relations. International pressure is building on Israel to lessen the impact on Palestinian civilians while the IDF prosecutes this war against Hamas in all of Gaza. During this webinar, we ask Cohen about the legal legitimacy of Israel's right to self-defense, the international bodies that determine laws of warfare and how to try Hamas for international war crimes. It’s a long and fascinating discussion as we ask Prof. Amichai Cohen, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. Illustrative: Prof. Amichai Cohen at a ToI Live event in Jerusalem's Israel Democracy Institute, December 15, 2022. (Oded Antman/IDI) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:56:55

What Matters Now to Israel Story’s Mishy Harman: ‘A person is a person is a person’

12/7/2023
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. This week on What Matters Now, we're again handing the mic to Mishy Harman, the co-founder of The Times of Israel’s podcast partner, Israel Story, the premiere English-language podcast from Israel. Since the October 7 massacre by Hamas of some 1,200 individuals, mostly civilians, Harman and his team at Israel Story have pivoted from their long-form, carefully nurtured episodes to producing almost daily Wartime Diaries. We at The Times of Israel asked the Israel Story team to compile a few episodes and after much deliberation, they selected three: Wartime Diaries: Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin, the parents of 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who was kidnapped from the Supernova Party, have in many ways emerged as the face of the hostage families. They’ve met with US President Joe Biden and the Pope, they were on the cover of Time Magazine, and Rachel has spoken at the UN and at the March for Israel Rally in Washington, DC. In all those places, as well as in countless other interviews, speeches and meetings, they’ve told the heartbreaking tale of the two text messages Hersh sent on the morning of October 7, one saying, “I love you,” and the other, “I’m sorry.” He wrote those messages from within a shelter where he was hiding with 28 other partygoers. Eighteen of them were killed, and Hersh was badly wounded when his left arm was blown off. Shortly thereafter, Hersh and three others from the shelter were loaded onto Hamas pickup trucks and taken into Gaza. At recording time, it was 55 days since their abduction. Wartime Diaries: Datya Itzhaki In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza under the leadership of premier Ariel Sharon. The roughly 8,000 residents of the 21 Jewish settlements within the Gaza Strip were forced to leave their homes and their communities, which for decades they had actually been encouraged and incentivized to inhabit. The move brought the country to the brink of a civil war. This was especially palpable in the tense relations between the residents of Gush Katif (as the main block of Gaza settlements was known) and their neighbors from the other side of the fence — the largely left-leaning residents of the same kibbutzim that 18 years later suffered most in the October 7 Hamas atrocities. Now, many of the former residents of the Gaza settlements who never stopped dreaming of returning to the sand dunes of the Strip feel at least partially vindicated. Had their communities not been dismantled back in 2005, they claim, the army would have still been in Gaza, and none of this calamity would have occurred. One such voice is that of 63-year-old Datya Itzhaki, who used to live in the Gush Katif settlement of Kfar Yam. Wartime Diaries: Sahar Vardi During this terrible moment, many people can’t make space for anyone else’s pain -- and that’s understandable. But for those who are open to it, Israel Story’s motto is that everybody's story matters. Without pointing fingers or making equivalencies, we're trying to stay true to our mission of sharing stories from different perspectives to complicate, humanize, and insert shades of nuance into what can often feel like a black-and-white, us-versus-them reality. In our 21st diary, we hear from Sahar Vardi, a Jewish-Israeli peace activist who lost a dear friend, Khalil Abu Yahia, in Gaza. So this week, we ask Mishy Harman, what matters now? What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. IMAGE: What Matters Now hosts the Israel Story podcast, with three episodes featuring: Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin (upper right), Datya Itzhaki (lower left) and Sahar Vardi. (Courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:01:07:43

What Matters Now to Saul Singer: Refounding Israel the day after the war

11/30/2023
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now. For Israelis, there is before October 7 and after. So the idea of a book called “The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World” written during those “before” times may not feel like the most relevant reading material. But it is. “Start-Up Nation” authors Saul Singer and Dan Senor have again joined forces to dissect what makes Israelis tick — and keep on ticking. One conclusion? It’s all about the unity of purpose. If that unity was once what made us strong, well, “Now it’s become existential. If we don’t stay unified, we’re just going to go into a downward spiral,” says co-author Saul Singer. So this week, we speak with bestselling author Saul Singer and find out, what matters now. What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts. Image: 'The Genius of Israel' co-author Saul Singer. (courtesy) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:26:45