Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Residents Receive an Insider's Perspective on the Middle East

Residents at Eisenberg Village and Fountainview were treated to an insider's perspective on the Middle East from Jerusalem Post chief political correspondent Gil Hoffman during a visit to the Jewish Home. The aptly titled "most optimistic man in Israel" by Israeli television provided insightful, thoughtful, and engaging overviews of the region's current events, from Israel's perspective.

Residents, curious to learn about international events, packed the Eisenberg Village multi-purpose room and Fountainview theater for two back-to-back presentations.

Touching on hot topics like Iran, Syria, Egypt, the Palestinians, and Israeli government affairs, Hoffman presented an optimistic outlook for the Jewish State — that despite the sensationalist stories we read daily, Israel's position in the region is actually extremely strong.

Hoffman described how the world was no longer quite as threatening to Israel as it once was.

From Egypt becoming so pro-Israel some of their newspapers referred to the Jewish State as their "savior" to Syria having only 10% of its military capability, the overarching message was that Israel is much safer than it was only a couple years ago.

On Iran, Hoffman explained that UN sanctions and Netanyahu's "red line" left the potentially nuclear arch-nemesis reeling, and that the world is largely on Israel's side.

As the conversation delved into the conflict with the Palestinians, Hoffman described how Hamas is being quickly marginalized across the region, and how American-led peace talks were progressing well.

The presentations concluded with Hoffman describing how, in Israel, "at the age of 65, we're finally growing up. We can look back on what we've built with pride." Now in a more stable position regionally, the current Knesset was elected mostly on economic issues, is far more moderate than in previous years, and potentially more malleable toward lasting peace terms with Israel's neighbors.

"They loved him!"said Eisenberg Village activities director Caryl Geiger. "They really raved about him."

The benefit to the residents was more than simply entertainment.

"What he did was stimulate the residents intellectually," Geiger explained. "We had such a big response, and the residents had great questions for him."

Residents continued the lively discussion about the topics covered during Hoffman's presentations following the events. "So informative" and "excellent speaker" were repeated over and over.

One new resident at Eisenberg Village thanked the Jewish Home staff for organizing such a marvelous event.

"I've been here only a week — I'm so impressed," she exclaimed. "And they tell me events like this are normal!"

The Fountainview audience was just as enthusiastic. Shelley Smilen, director of resident services, recalls, "One resident shared with me, 'He was funny, humble, and informative — when is he coming back?', and that’s quite a statement coming from this gentleman!"

Special thanks goes to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for bringing Gil Hoffman through its Israel Speakers Bureau.

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