This year, Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary. As we mark this important milestone for the Jewish state, it is important to understand all that makes Israel what it is today. From its special relationship with the United States to the triumph of the Abraham Accords, to its vibrant politics, and rich cultural and religious identities, Israel has an extraordinary story to tell. 

Here are seven episodes of AJC’s People of the Pod featuring leading Israeli and American scholars, experts, and influencers that will help you learn more about the complexities, triumphs, and challenges facing Israel today.  

U.S.-Israel Relationship:

Walter Russell Mead: Debunking Myths and Misconceptions About the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Today, Israel is one of America’s top global allies. How did this relationship develop? Why does this alliance have such widespread support in America? To answer these questions and more, Walter Russell Mead, Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship at the Hudson Institute and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, joined guest host, Melanie Maron Pell, AJC’s chief field operations officer, to discuss his latest book, “The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.”

Israel-Diaspora Relations:

Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch: Support for Israel is Key to Viability of Reform Judaism

Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, sat down with guest host Laura Shaw Frank, AJC's Director of Contemporary Jewish Life, to discuss the danger of waning commitment to Israel among some Reform Jews, a recent delegation to the Poland-Ukraine border, and how being #JewishAndProud is as important to him as breathing. 

Why Auburn Basketball’s Trip to Israel Was Personal for Coach Bruce Pearl

Dov Wilker, Regional Director of AJC Atlanta, sat down with Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl to talk about being a passionate pro-Israel Jew at a large Southern university, what it was like being in Israel with his team during the conflict in August, and the reaction he received from the trip.

Abraham Accords: 

Noa Tishby on the Abraham Accords: The Middle East Realizes Israel is Not the Enemy

Israeli-American actress Noa Tishby, who served as Israel’s first special envoy for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel, joined us to discuss the impact of the Abraham Accords two years on, how she’s raising her son to love Israel, and why she doesn’t view antisemitism as a “problem to solve.”

How Young Jews and Muslims are Advancing Israeli-Moroccan Peace

On the second anniversary of the normalization of relations between Israel and Morocco as part of the Abraham Accords, three young adults hailing from Israel, Morocco, and the U.S., respectively, joined us to discuss their visit earlier this year to Israel and Morocco. 

Religious Life:

Yossi Klein Halevi on What Everyone Should Know About the Third Era of Jewish History

Author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi joined us to talk about the wisdom of the Israeli calendar in how Israel remembers the fallen on Yom Hazikaron, followed by celebrating its independence on Yom Ha’atzmaut the very next day. 

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

How to Tell Fact from Fiction About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Canadian-Israeli journalist Matti Friedman shares candid advice for all who are trying to understand the complex situation that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Friedman takes listeners behind the scenes of media reporting on Israel to demonstrate the sometimes corrosive impact that news outlets have when they attempt to oversimplify the conflict.

Join People of the Pod in 2023. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or your favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear, follow, rate us, and spread the word.

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