More than 250 guests packed the UCLA Faculty Center for a full day of learning at “Israel in 3D – A One Day University Exploring Multiple Dimensions of Israel,” an event hosted and organized by the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Following welcome remarks by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and center benefactor Younes Nazarian, Professor Arieh Saposnik, the center’s director, opened the day’s program of five expert panels, which covered a range of critical topics.
“The day was tremendously successful in creating a real conversation between the research and teaching taking place on our campus and the interests and concerns of people beyond campus,” said Saposnik. “I’m also extremely gratified by the feedback we received from the audience about the program’s substantive, thought-provoking, and respectful approach to Israel education, which is one of the Nazarian Center’s key goals.”
The morning began with a discussion about Israel’s current position in the Middle East led by Professors Leonard Binder, Department of Political Science; Steven Spiegel, a political scientist and director of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development; and Etel Solingen, Chancellor’s Professor in political science from UC Irvine.
This was followed by a discussion about minority-majority relations in Israel among a trio of young scholars, including Kassem Nabulsi, an Arab-Israeli professor of political science at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), and Ayelet Harel-Shalev and Orit Gazit-Lederman, both visiting scholars from Israel who are currently working at the Nazarian Center.
Professor Saposnik joined the panel exploring Israeli and Jewish culture with Arnold Band, UCLA professor emeritus of Hebrew and Comparative Literatures, and Jody Myers, professor of Jewish studies at CSUN.
Luncheon guests were treated to a lively talk by acclaimed Hollywood writer and producer Howard Gordon, co-creator and executive producer of the Golden Globe Award-winning television series “Homeland,” which is based on the popular Israeli tv drama “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War”). Gordon gave the inside story about how he was introduced to the Israeli show and the plot changes made to create the American version. He also answered questions from the audience.
In the final panels of the day, UCLA experts in law, finance and engineering - Neil Netanel, Stuart Gabriel and Yoram Cohen - discussed Israeli law and the Supreme Court, the state of the Israeli economy, and Israel’s leadership in water reclamation and desalination to guarantee the country safe and adequate water supplies. Closing the day was a passionate discussion on the relationship of Israel to diaspora Jewry with Rabbi David Wolpe from Sinai Temple, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, executive director of Hillel at UCLA, UCLA professor of history David Myers and Judea Pearl, UCLA professor of computer science and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.