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What Matters Now

Author: The Times of Israel

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A weekly exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World right now.
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Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World. This week, host deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. On Tuesday, the United Nations published an annual report on children in armed conflict, which for the first time added the Israeli military, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to its list of worst offenders. The decision to add the IDF to what has become known as “the list of shame” was due to what the report said was its killing and maiming of children and attacking schools and hospitals. Israel asserts that it operates according to international law, taking steps to avoid civilian casualties. And on Wednesday, a UN inquiry alleged both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in the early stages of the Gaza war, saying Israel’s actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses, and that they included acts of “extermination.” This week, we discuss the use of international bodies to delegitimize Israel and how international law -- developed in part by Jews -- no longer protects the little guys. 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: Israel's legal team waits to hear the arguments of South Africa's legal team as part of South Africa case against Israel over Rafah offensive at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, on May 16, 2024. (Nick Gammon / AFP)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World. This week, host deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with archaeologist Prof. Jodi Magness. This Wednesday, Israel marked Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War. But the capital has a rich and fascinating history of rulership changes since its foundation in circa 1000 BCE. Magness just published her latest book, "Jerusalem Through the Ages: From Its Beginnings to the Crusades," through Oxford University Press. She stopped by The Times of Israel's Jerusalem offices to speak about the ancient eternal city's rulerships and populations throughout the eras. “Jerusalem Through the Ages” is a 700-page weighty tome that delves into the city’s history through archaeological evidence and also texts, including the Bible and extra-biblical material such as the Egyptian Amarna Letters. Magness is Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of 11 books, including "Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth," "Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus," and "The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls." From 2011 until 2023, Magness directed excavations at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee and uncovered its breathtaking mosaics. So this Jerusalem Day, we take a quick break from our current war and ask archaeologist Prof. Jodi Magness, what mattered then? 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: Prof. Jodi Magness in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on April 11, 2022. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/The Times of Israel)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World. This week, host deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with legal expert Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy. October 7 was not the first time that rape was weaponized in warfare. If history teaches anything, it also won’t be the last. Almost immediately following Hamas’s murderous onslaught on southern Israel, humanitarian law expert Elkayam-Levy established and now heads The Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women and Children. Elkayam-Levy is a Sophie Davis Post-Doctoral Fellow at Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute’s program on Gender, Conflict Resolution and addition to lecturing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Reichman University, she, along with her staff, has poured over thousands of pieces of documentation that chronicle Hamas’s systemic use of rape and sexual violence against women. The silence and lack of condemnation of this violence from international bodies, including the 30-year-old United Nations office of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, has been deafening to Israeli women. But domestically, Elkayam-Levy was recently awarded the Israel Prize, the highest honor the state of Israel bestows, as well as other honors. Borschel-Dan visited the headquarters of the Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women and Children for a wide-ranging conversation. Listener discretion is advised. So this week, we ask Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy, 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: Law prof Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy (Martine Hami)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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. A month before the Hamas onslaught on Israel's south that would claim the life of his son, Rav Doron Perez inked a deal to translate to Hebrew his English-language book, "The Jewish State From Opposition to Opportunity: A Vision for Unity in Israel and Why the World Needs It." In the book, the Johannesburg-born Executive Chairman of the Mizrachi World Movement, also a member of the board of the World Zionist Organization, aims to use an "old-new spiritual approach to the Jewish state," in part to help bridge the country's widening gaps. And then, on October 7, the Perez family suffered a double blow in learning that eldest son Yonatan was injured and second child Daniel was missing. It was only after 163 days of uncertainty that the family learned that Daniel was indeed killed on that bloody Saturday after a heroic battle for the protection of Nachal Oz. Now, Perez is reconciling this unmeasurable loss with his staunch Religious Zionism, even as some in Israel would give in to a very understandable anger and blame. This week on What Matters Now, we talk about the past almost eight months in which the family incrementally learned of Daniel’s fate. 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: In this 2021 image, Rav Doron Perez (center) poses with his two soldier sons Yonatan (left, then 22) and Daniel (then 20), who was slain on October 7, 2023, and his remains captured by Hamas and taken to Gaza. (courtesy)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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. The Cambridge Dictionary defines "optimism" as "the quality of being full of hope and emphasizing the good parts of a situation, or a belief that something good will happen." Looking at war-torn Israel today, it is a quality that appears to be in short supply. But in this week's What Matters Now, The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur points out that while things look bleak now, there are several reasons for optimism. We begin the program by discussing Israel's 5th place on the annual World Happiness Report, which, in addition to self-assessed evaluations of life satisfaction, is also based on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption. Incredibly, the self-reported Israeli data was collected following the October 7 massacre of 1,200 individuals and hostage-taking of 252 by Hamas terrorists and the resultant, ongoing war in Gaza. Even faced with a "negative outlook" by ratings agency S&P Global and Moody’s Investors Service on the Israeli economy, Rettig Gur finds signs of economic optimism -- stemming from the Haredi community. So this memorial 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: People celebrate Israel's 76th Independence Day at Saker Park in Jerusalem, May 14, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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. Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene -- a Georgia Republican who has been criticized in the past for her dalliances with antisemitic tropes and influencers -- explained her vote against a bill defining antisemitism by saying that the bill rejects the “gospel” that “the Jews” handed Jesus over to his crucifiers. When the Georgia Republican stated these "facts," she echoed thousands of years of blood libel used to excuse the antisemitic massacre of Jews. In this week's What Matters Now, The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur explains some of the history behind this statement and how antisemitism differs from "regular" racism. We see how antisemitism plays out in the ongoing anti-Israel protests on North American university campuses and discuss how a majority of the over 2,000 arrested in recent weeks have not actually been college students. On Monday, we in Israel marked Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and for next week are looking ahead to Memorial Day and Independence Day. Rettig Gur looks at how these days affect Israelis -- and why they are observed day-after-day. So in a week in which US President Joe Biden denounces rising antisemitism, 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: A woman wears a hat that reads 'Curb Your Antisemitism' during a rally against campus antisemitism at George Washington University on May 2, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images/AFP)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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. Police cleared 30 to 40 people from inside Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night after protesters against Israel occupied the administration building in New York earlier in the day. Hundreds of New York Police Department officers acted after the school’s president said there was no other way to ensure safety and restore order on campus and sought help from the police. The confrontation occurred more than 12 hours after the demonstrators took over Hamilton Hall shortly after midnight Tuesday, spreading their reach from an anti-Israel tent encampment elsewhere on the grounds that’s was there for nearly two weeks. This week we speak with two Jewish student leaders from Columbia University, Eden Yadegar, the president of Columbia's chapter of Students Supporting Israel, and Elisha H. Baker, a senior editor at the Columbia Political Review. We speak about the pro-Palestine encampment that has sparked a wave of copycat protests throughout campuses in the United States. But we also set the scene on the Columbia campus, which led up to these protests and hear about an atmosphere in which latent antisemitism was released from its cage after the October 7 Hamas onslaught on southern Israel in which terrorists massacred 1,200 and took 253 individuals hostage. We also hear about how Yadegar, after speaking at a congressional roundtable about on-campus antisemitism organized by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce alongside students from eight other universities, returned to campus to face derision. So this week, we ask Columbia University students Eden Yadegar and Elisha H. Baker, 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: Columbia University students Eden Yadegar and Elisha H. Baker lead songs in support of Israel on October 12, 2023 at the Columbia University campus in New York. (courtesy)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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. This week, we speak with The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur about the controversial Netzah Yehudah battalion that is on the docket for blacklisting by the United States under the 1997 Leahy Law. In August 2022, Israeli troops from the religious Netzah Yehuda battalion were filmed beating two Palestinian detainees in the West Bank in a video posted to the TikTok video-sharing site. Three soldiers were seen repeatedly kicking two Palestinian men near Ramallah as a fourth soldier stands nearby. They were suspended and investigated. This well-publicized beating came months after the death of Omar As’ad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-American who died after being detained, handcuffed, blindfolded, and later abandoned in near-freezing conditions by soldiers of the battalion. As Washington is increasingly clamping down on extremist Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, the State Department probed Netzah Yehuda and several of the other units in the Israeli security forces for well over a year due to alleged human rights violations. While the State Department looks into thousands of allegations of Leahy Law violations each year, it created a special panel known as the Israel Leahy Vetting Forum that exclusively vets allegations against the IDF and Israel Police due to the political sensitivity of the issue. So this week in which an IDF unit may be defunded by the United States, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?  With contributions from Jacob Magid.  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: Israeli soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion patrol near the Israeli-Gaza border, October 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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 a post-October 7 Israeli reality, is any new security threat outside the realm of imagination? This week, when over 300 projectiles were sent from Iran to Israel, we pose this question to journalist and hit Israeli drama "Fauda" co-creator Avi Issacharoff. Legions of fans around the world know of Issacharoff’s fiction writing from the popular television series, loosely based on his experiences in the IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit, that is written alongside "Fauda" star Lior Raz. (We'll hear a story of their post-October 7 real-life bravery during our conversation.) But Issacharoff is first and foremost a long-time, die-hard journalist and analyst of the Arab world -- one who has put his life on the line in the past to cover a story. We pick Issacharoff’s brain as we unpick the knotty situation Israel is currently facing with enemies on our borders, and Iran as a puppet master who is coming increasingly closer to a nuclear bomb. So this week, we ask journalist Avi Issaharoff, 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: Mideast analyst Avi Issacharoff, one of the co-creators of the Israeli TV drama 'Fauda,' (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Comments (2)

Alison Wechsler Cipriani

really boring and irrelevant don't buy imports if they're too expensive

Aug 11th
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Chris Harkness

I would have loved to listen to this but unfortunately the audio for the person being interviewed was completely unintelligible.

Oct 19th
Reply