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.
Can Hi-Tech Transform the U.S.-Israel Relationship?
Season 1, Ep. 10
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.
The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Challenge
Season 1, Ep. 9
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)
U.S., Israel and the Palestinians: Oslo, Gaza and Beyond
Season 1, Ep. 8
This episodefocuses on one of thetoughest 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 Sharonchose to pull out 8,000settlers from Gaza.Sharon was the architect of the settlement movement and, therefore,had aunique political credibility to make this decision.Host David Makovsky discusses this these moments with two individuals who were bothpersonallyinvolved.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'scolleague at the Washington Institute and co-author ofBe 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
Cold War Geopolitics and Freedom for Soviet, Ethiopian, and Syrian Jews
Season 1, Ep. 7
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
Begin, Sadat and Carter: Camp David Breakthrough
Season 1, Ep. 6
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)
The 1973 War and the Airlift Delay
Season 1, Ep. 5
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