Anwar Sadat’s Trip to Jerusalem
Season 2, Ep. 5
On November 19th, 1977, Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt and arguably the leader of the Arab world, stepped off a plane at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. This was the first time an Arab leader set foot in the Jewish state. He was going to go his own way for the restoration of Egyptian land and the cause of peace. Join Abdel Monem Said Aly, CEO of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, to discuss Sadat’s road to Jerusalem.Audio Clips Used:Dr. Henry Kissinger (Part 3)Middle East: Sadat's Visit to Israel (B)
Menachem Begin and the Bombing of the Osiraq Nuclear Reactor
Season 1, Ep. 4
Throughout his life, Menachem Begin held many titles: leader of the Irgun, an underground revisionist-Zionist militia; leader of the opposition; and prime minister. One value motivated everything he did: the protection of the Jewish people and prevention of a second Holocaust. One of the clearest examples of this principle was Operation Opera, the Israeli raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Join Amos Yadlin, one of the fighter pilots involved in the operation, and Dan Meridor, a cabinet secretary under Begin, to discuss the raid, the development of the “Begin Doctrine,” and the lessons from Osiraq that can be applied to more recent nuclear challenges from Syria and Iran.Audio Clips Used:מבצע אופרה - תקיפת הכור העיראקי | חיל האוויר
Golda Meir and the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre
Season 2, Ep. 3
Raised in America before emigrating to Israel, Golda Meir was the country’s first and only female prime minister, and one of only two women to sign its declaration of independence. A study in contrasts, she was tough on terrorism but also a key player in securing the release of 200,000 Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1970s, sparking a wave of Russian emigration to Israel. Her legacy is viewed differently at home and abroad. Her tenure coincided with several major threats to Israelis—most infamously the “Black September” attack on the Olympic team in Munich. Join David Makovsky for this episode, which features interviews with Meir biographer Francine Klagsbrun and journalist who focuses on Israeli counterterrorism history and author of the bestselling Rise and Kill First, Ronen Bergman, to discuss Israel’s reaction and response to the attack.Audio Clips Used: UPITN 26 11 74 MEIR SPEECH AT MEETING9/5/72: Munich Olympics Massacre
Shimon Peres and the Development of Israel’s Nuclear Program
Season 2, Ep. 2
Shimon Peres’s contributions spanned the first seven decades of Israeli history, making his life inseparable from that of the country itself. Often remembered as a leading statesman, not a soldier, he is nevertheless credited with establishing the Israeli defense industry and making the controversial decision to pursue a nuclear program—a move predicated on close relations with France, the looming memory of the Holocaust, and numerous geostrategic considerations. In this episode, host David Makovsky is joined by Shai Feldman, a leading expert on nuclear history, and Nimrod Novik, a close advisor of Peres, for a discussion on the late leader’s pivotal role in Israel's nuclear development.
David Ben-Gurion and the Decision to Declare the State of Israel
Season 2, Ep. 1
On May 14, 1948, the British were scheduled to bring an end to the British Mandate in Palestine. The question on the table for the Jewish community in Palestine was existential: to immediately declare a state and risk invasion by better-armed Arab states or accept an international ceasefire? Join leading Israeli historian Anita Shapira to discuss the dramatic cabinet debate and David Ben Gurion’s decision to declare the state.Audio Clips Used:Palestine Partitioned - 1947 | Today In History | 29 Nov 18
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