By Amanda Eisenberg

The Middle East is engulfed in a continuous cycle “where we expect peace,” said Ari Shavit Feb. 5 to a full room at the Stamp Student Union.

The program, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel” was sponsored by the Joseph & Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and featured Shavit, a senior correspondent at Haaretz, a daily Israeli newspaper known for its left-wing politics.

Amanda Eisenberg/The Mitzpeh
Amanda Eisenberg/The Mitzpeh

Shavit joined Professor Yoram Peri for a brief lecture before fielding questions from the audience, most of which were students in Peri’s Israel Politics and Society class.

Junior Arabic major Naham Shapiro said he was “riveted” by Shavit’s personal views on Israel, which can he described as “very left.”

Shavit’s speech focused on the theological debate surrounding the state of Israel and a pragmatic approach to solving the land disputes in the Middle East.

“He’s one of the Israelis that loves Israel but… is willing to criticize,” said Ann Bradbury, a former librarian at the university. “He dares to say what’s not quite right.”

While speaking about his book, My Promised Land, Shavit passionately spoke of the need for Western interference in the Middle East .

“The world is fed up with us,” shouted Shavit. “We will not be able to survive a moment without the help of the West.”

And if Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan fails, concluded Shavit, “ramifications will be serious, if not dramatic.”

Since he took the position in early 2013, Kerry has attempted several peace negotiations between the Arab world and Israel.

After the speech, Sharon Wallsten of Silver Spring, Md., said Shavit left a deep impression on her, especially after reading his book.

Her husband, Tom,  a professor emeritus of psychology from the university, added that Shavit’s personal view of history “hit home” for him regarding Palestine.

“It’s Israel’s moral and political beauty to reach out and try to have peace with the Palestinians,” Shavit said to conclude the event..


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