Jerusalem — More than a thousand leading politicians, scholars and scientists from around the world are set to convene in Jerusalem next month with the lofty goal of outlining a blueprint for the future of Israel and the Jewish people.
The global leaders will gather in the Jewish state May 13 for “Facing Tomorrow,” a three-day conference convened by Israeli President Shimon Peres to coincide with the country’s 60th anniversary celebrations. The list of scheduled participants boasts an impressive variety of figures, from politicians like President Bush, Tony Blair and Mikhail Gorbachev, to business moguls such as Google’s Sergey Brinn and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to entertainment stars such as Barbra Streisand.
Against the backdrop of what are viewed by many in Israel as dull and ordinary events celebrating Israel’s 60th, the conference stands out for its ambitious goals and its A-list invitees. The gathering is the brainchild of Peres, the last remaining leader from the generation that founded the state.
Peres has been ridiculed in the past for his grand visions of a new Middle East [which is different than the fractured future Jeffrey Goldberg anticipates], but he is now setting out to take on nothing less than the future of the Jewish people. And in typical Peres fashion, he wants to redefine the basic structure of relations among Israel, the Jewish people and the world.
“It is time to change the nature of the partnership between the various parts of the Jewish people,” Peres told the Forward. “It needs to be less materialistic and more intellectual.” Israel, he argued, should aspire to become a “leading world laboratory” for thought, technology and science.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
A meeting of the minds in Israel
It's been dubbed the "Jewish Davos," and many Israelis are saying its more exciting than the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state. The Forward spoke with Israeli President Shimon Peres, a much more remarkable leader than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, about his baby: