Shlomo Ben-Ami

Shlomo Ben-Ami is an Oxford trained historian who holds a PHD from that university, a renowned author, and the former Israeli foreign minister. He taught in the history department of Tel Aviv University, was a visiting fellow at Oxford University, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. Ben-Ami is the author of many books including Scars of War, Wounds of Peace.

He was appointed as Israel’s first Ambassador to Spain and was a member of Israel’s delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference. In 1996, Ben-Ami was elected to the Knesset, where he served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Professor Ben-Ami was appointed Minister of Public Security in 1999 and Foreign Minister in 2000. He participated with Prime Minister Barak in the Camp David Summit and led the Israeli negotiating team in all the different phases of the negotiations with the Palestinians, including at Taba. He is currently the Vice President of the Toledo International Center for Peace, of which he is a co-founder.

Throughout 2009, Prof. Ben Ami served in the Advisory Board of The International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

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Does America really ‘share values’ with today’s Israel?

In the late sixties or early seventies, when I served as the executive head of the Synagogue Council of America, the coordinating body for certain social action and interreligious activities of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform national rabbinical and congregational organizations in the United States, I had a private conversation—one of many—with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who was considered the leader of modern Orthodoxy in the United States, if not the world.

Rabbi Soloveitchik had just completed a high-level seminar attended by a select group of rabbis and Christian ministers. I asked him if he would agree to lead another such a seminar on the Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel and the concept of “kedushat haaretz” (the holiness of the land), and how these are to be differentiated from concepts such as “blut und boden” (blood and land) at the heart of German fascism and other totalitarian regimes.

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