FROM LEFT: Nir Barkat, Greg Rosshandler, Yaakov Amidror (Courtesy: JISS)
The powers that be at the Begin-Sadat Institute for Strategic Studies (BESA) are not exactly thrilled with the idea that a similar institute has been launched in Jerusalem, and is headed by Efraim Inbar, who is professor emeritus of political science at Bar-Ilan University and former BESA director.
The Institute for National Security Studies on the campus of Tel Aviv University is likewise not overjoyed.
A couple of months before Inbar turned 70 in January of this year, he had to step down, but he wasn’t ready to retire. The solution was to set up another think tank in the capital, but not one that was affiliated with a university. Considering that all its members are on the right of the political spectrum, the ideal launching pad for the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies was the Begin Heritage Center. Inbar took with him some BESA stars such as Yaakov Amidror, Eran Lerman and Hillel Frisch.
It goes without saying that the right of center who’s who were among the speakers and in the audience at the launch. Netanyahu had other commitments, but he sent a congratulatory letter welcoming the new institute to the capital and expressing his belief that it will be a leading diplomatic and security think tank that will bring a realist strategic perspective to public opinion in Israel and around the world.”
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Police commander Asst.-Ch. Yoram Halevy and the adviser on east Jerusalem affairs to the mayor of Jerusalem, Dr. David Koren, dominated the discussions.
Barkat was grilled on stage in an interview with David M. Weinberg, one of two vice presidents of the new institute (who is also a Jerusalem Post columnist). Inbar and Lerman, who are president and vice president, respectively, lectured on the strategic importance of Jerusalem and on Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem as a linchpin of regional security.
One of the most admired figures present was Australian philanthropist Greg Rosshandler of Melbourne, an early supporter of the institute, who was photographed together with Barkat and Amidror, former national security adviser to Netanyahu, who is now the Anne and Greg Rosshandler senior fellow at JISS. Rabbi Yaakov Medan, dean of Yeshivat Har Etzion, delivered a fiery address to conclude the conference in which he posed the Temple Mount against Mount Herzl and Mount Scopus as spiritual opposites.
The 300-seat auditorium was packed throughout the five-hour conference.
Among those in the crowd were Jerusalem deputy mayors Dov Kalmanovich and Yael Antebi, former city council member Hanan Rubin, former ambassador to the US Zalman Shoval, Amir Cheshin, Herzl Makov, journalist and former politician Fiamma Nirenstein, Dr. Max and Suzanne Singer, Kohelet Forum president Prof. Moshe Koppel, and Tikvah Fund CEO Amiad Cohen.
The next JISS conference will be held on December 27, asking the question “Is the IDF Ready for the Next War?