Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to speak at UMD tonight

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By Jacqueline Hyman

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer will speak at the Seventh Annual Dubin Lecture at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m.

The Dubin Lecture, which has been an annual event since 2008, is “an opportunity to bring high-level lecturers to discuss issues that are related to Israel,” said Professor Yoram Peri, the director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies.

“[Dermer is] a good speaker, and he’s very intelligent, and he knows facts more than anybody else because he’s in a special position,” said Peri, who is responsible for choosing the speaker each year.

This is not the first time an Israeli ambassador has visited this university. In 2010, Ambassador Michael Oren was the spokesperson for the lecture.

Audience members expect Dermer to cover topics such as the Israel-Gaza conflict that took place this summer, as well as Israel-U.S. relations.

Freshman letters and sciences major Sam Koralnik, a member of Shalom Zionists at University of Maryland (SHAZAM) and the Jewish Student Union freshman council, said he wants to attend the lecture because he is pro-Israel and wants to learn as much as he can.

“This seemed like a great opportunity to hear from the ambassador and just get his perspective on things,” Koralnik said. “I think we should be honored to have an ambassador come visit us.”

According to SHAZAM co-president junior Jared Ebrahimoff, the group canceled its bi-weekly meeting to give members the opportunity to attend the lecture.

“I believe he has a unique perspective on the situation that most Americans do not get the chance to hear,” said Ebrahimoff, who hopes to hear Dermer’s point of view on Iran’s nuclear program.

Peri agrees, knowing that international tensions are high.

“This year it’s going to be a very interesting thing because we are now in the midst of a real dilemma in the relations between Israel and the United States,” Peri said. “Many analysts even call it a crisis.”

Because Dermer is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Peri believes that Dermer will share valuable information.

“He’s more knowledgeable than any other person you can think of,” Peri said.

Peri said that anyone who is interested in the conflict between Israel and the Middle East will benefit from attending this lecture.

Reservations for the event are now closed. However, for anyone interested in watching the lecture, it will be online in a live stream tonight at http://www.ter.ps/watchumtv.

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