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November 22 @ 1pm

November 22 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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Speaker: Ami Ayalon

Moderator: Neal Elyakin


Friend­ly Fire: How Israel Became Its Own Worst Ene­my
and the Hope for Its Future


National Jewish Book Awards Finalist 2020

In this deeply per­son­al jour­ney of dis­cov­ery, Ami Ayalon seeks input and per­spec­tive from Pales­tini­ans and Israelis whose expe­ri­ences dif­fer from his own. As head of the Shin Bet secu­ri­ty agency, he gained empa­thy for ​“the ene­my” and learned that when Israel car­ries out anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tions in a polit­i­cal con­text of hope­less­ness, the Pales­tin­ian pub­lic will sup­port vio­lence, because they have noth­ing to lose. Research­ing and writ­ing Friend­ly Fire, he came to under­stand that his patri­ot­ic life had blind­ed him to the self-defeat­ing nature of poli­cies that have under­mined Israel’s civ­il soci­ety while heap­ing humil­i­a­tion upon its Pales­tin­ian neigh­bors. ​“If Israel becomes an Orwellian dystopia,” Ayalon writes, ​“it won’t be thanks to a hand­ful of the­olo­gians drag­ging us into the dark past. The sec­u­lar major­i­ty will lead us there moti­vat­ed by fear and pro­pelled by silence.” Ayalon is a real­ist, not an ide­al­ist, and many who con­sid­er them­selves Zion­ists will regard as rad­i­cal his con­clu­sions about what Israel must do to achieve rel­a­tive peace and secu­ri­ty and to sus­tain itself as a Jew­ish home­land and a lib­er­al democracy.


Admi­ral (Ret.) Ami Ayalon is a for­mer Flotil­la 13 (Israel’s navy seals) com­man­do, comman­der of the navy, direc­to­ry of the Shin Bet secu­ri­ty agency, cab­i­net min­is­ter, Knes­set mem­ber and recip­i­ent of the Medal of Val­or, Israel’s high­est mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tion. With Sari Nus­seibeh, he estab­lished the Peo­ple’s Voice peace ini­tia­tive in 2002. He is a mem­ber of Com­man­ders for Israel’s Secu­ri­ty, chair­man of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the Haifa Research Cen­ter for Mar­itime & Strat­e­gy, and Chair­man of AKIM Israel (the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion for chil­dren and adults with Intel­lec­tu­al Dis­abil­i­ties). He orga­nized and was fea­tured in the Acad­e­my Award-nom­i­nat­ed doc­u­men­tary, The Gate­keep­ers.


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November 22
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category: