1. The Temple Mount / El Aqsa: When Politics and Faith Meet on the Mountain -
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the passion of people for the mountain.
We will discuss the history, politics and myths that make the Temple Mount/El Aqsa the most sensitive and tantalizing sight on Earth and a place where there is a fragile status quo between Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan, involving Turkey and many other players in the international community.
2. The Gaza Strip
The events that led to Gaza’s current reality in and around the Gaza strip.
We will discuss the history and multiple (conflicting) narratives, and take a deep dive into the parties involved, such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians living there.
3. The Bedouin Society in Israel
A Community in Transition.
We will discuss the history, culture, identity and challenges of the Bedouins living in Israel: tribalism, polygamy, hospitality, politics, religion, nationalism, economy and stories from the desert.
4. Israel in the Eyes of the International Community
The Challenges of Telling Israel’s Story.
Why does Israel draw so much attention? Why does the foreign media cover the Israeli/Palestinian conflict disproportionately?
Is there an objective way of telling the story?
we will answer all these questions and more.
5. The Village of Peqi’in
We will virtually walk through the allies of this picturesque village and hear the stories that make it so unique in Israel’s tapestry; from Shimon Bar Yochai's cave through the village spring to the Druze community, the Synagogue and Margalit Zinat's incredible story.
6. An Israel and Middle East political update
An in depth analysis of the recent news and events in Israel and the Middle East.
The workshop is adjusted to the relevant topics and news at time of the lecture.
7. Arab Minorities in Israel
The Arab citizens of Israel hold three identities: Arab, Palestinian and Israeli.
We will discuss the unique challenges, culture and dynamics of the Arab population within Israel, living in a state aspiring to be both Jewish and Democratic.
8. "Why Words Matter”
In this lecture, Michael will use his experience guiding multi-cultural; multi-religious and multi-narrative groups through Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank, religious sites and different borders. Through stories and anecdotes, Michael will share the challenge of: "choosing the right words" to cater everyone's experience when telling a story. While the lecture enables us to get a glance into Israel's complexity, it makes one think about communication in general.
9. Introduction to the Key Issues in Defining and Understanding Israel
The lecture will define and clarify some of the key issues and questions required to understand Israel. Using a few lines taken from Israel's Declaration of Independence: "we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, which will be the State of Israel". Michael will address the following questions: What is the definition of a Jew? What is meant by a Jewish state? What is the land of Israel and what are its borders? What are the differences between the land, the state and the people of Israel?
10. Lebanon, Syria and the Iranian Shi’ite Crescent
For the past 40 years, Iran has been successfully building an Iranian controlled corridor from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. The Shiite crescent is the most significant threat to Israel. We will cover the parties, events, options, threats and opportunities around Iran and its intentions.
11. The Geopolitics of East Jerusalem
"Jerusalem is the Capital of two peoples and the shrine of three faiths” (Simone Sebag Montefiore).
The Geopolitics and conflicts in Jerusalem represent the complex tension between Arabs and Jews, West and East, modernity and tradition. We will discuss the legal status of the city and its residents, the barrier and the dispute around the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.
12. The Neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah: A Real Estate Conflict or a Battle over Jerusalem's Identity?
Through the story of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, one can learn some of the many challenges that Jerusalem faces. Recently, Sheikh Jarrah has become one of the key symbols in the battle for Jerusalem's identity. In order to understand the dispute, we must go back and explore the neighborhood from the 19th century all the way to its image on social media today, as a place that will probably stay a place of political and legal clashes for the near future.