Dr. Robert O. Freedman of Johns Hopkins University will be discussing the challenges facing the State of Israel over the past 60 years. He will be speaking at Memorial Union at 7pm on April 1st.
“In the nearly sixty-one years of its existence, Israel has faced numerous challenges. First has been the challenge of integrating immigrants from many different countries and cultures, most recently from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Second has been the need to develop a military force of sufficient strength to deter outside attack from unfriendly neighboring Arab States, and if deterrence failed, to win the wars that followed. Third has been the challenge of creating an economic system able to transform Israel from an agricultural economy to a high tech industrial one. Fourth has been the challenge of working out the proper balance between Synagogue and State. Fifth has been the challenge of working out a modus vivendi with Israel’s Arab minority. Sixth has been the challenge of securing a secure peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, has been the challenge of creating a political system sufficiently flexible to meet these challenges, yet at the same time one strong enough to be seen as legitimate by the vast majority of Israel’s population. So far, Israel has been able to meet all these challenges, albeit imperfectly, and its political culture has proven to be one of the liveliest in the world.”
Dr. Freedman is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches courses on The Middle East and on Russian Foreign Policy. He is the author of five books on Soviet and Russian foreign policy, the latest being Russia, Iran and the Nuclear Question: the Putin Record (US Army War College, 2006). He is also the editor of 14 books on The Soviet Union/Russia, Israel and the Middle East, most recently The Middle East Enters the 21st Century (2002) and Contemporary Israel: Israel’s Political, Economic and Security Challenges (2008). A past president of the Association for Israel Studies, Dr. Freedman has served as a commentator on National Public Radio, the BBC and the Voice of America, and is a consultant to the US State Department and the CIA.
The events is sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies. The event is free and open to the public.