The Gatekeepers

"The Gatekeepers" conference was held on December 29-30, 2014, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This conference was organized and conducted as a joint project of the Swiss Center for Conflict Research with the Smart Family Institute of Communication, The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Chairmen, managers and organizers of the conference were: Prof. Raya Morag, Prof. Ifat Maoz, Prof.Esther Schely-Newman, Professor Menahem Blondheim and Tal Shenhav.

Writing about the conference - Prof. Moshe Maoz, The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace: 

This is a time of unprecedented revolution and critical developments in Arab countries and in the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, with internal, regional and global effects: on the one hand, the uprisings of the "Arab spring", free and democratic elections in Arab countries and the rise of Islamic regimes, when in Tunisia The new regime is also democratic-liberal. On the other hand, the appearance of radical Islamic organizations, such as Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra, who conquered large parts of Syria and Iraq, and threaten their territorial integrity and the neighbouring countries. And in between, further deterioration in the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, began operation Protective Edge in Gaza to the growth of a Muslim-Jewish "religious war", Regarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Regional powers like Iran and Turkey, and international powers - the US and Russia were involved in these developments, competing for strategic, political and economic influence in the area. There are number of risks in affairs assessment and reporting in this complex, using one-sided approaches, biased, disinformation, concealment of facts and figures and the preference of the heart.

Media and the academia in Israel should be "Gate Keepers" in front of these negative trends, and their purpose is to report and analyze the various developments in an open, balanced and impartial way as possible. Researchers and participants in this conference are indeed responsible for these positive attitudes, as well as cooperation and dialogues between Israelis and Arabs. The Hebrew University and theHarry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, in particular, has a long record and productive of such positive dialogues, the Smart Family Institute of Communication and the Department of Communication and Journalism specialized in issues of communication, conflict resolution and peace, on various aspects of them, and the Swiss Center for Conflict Research has a long and based tradition in teaching and research interdisciplinary about conflict and resolution. The "Gate Keepers" conference and additional activities of these organizations in particular and the Hebrew University in general, on issues of cooperation, dialogue, and presenting different and complexity perspectives, including critical perspective on issues related to conflict, negate the claims of international organizations such as "BDS" to ban Israeli academia. 

The conference was very successful, interesting and varied and attracted many people that came and participated.

Two sessions were devoted to the film "The Gatekeepers". The discussions focused on issues that arose from the movie and on the complex relationship with the Palestinians over the years. Participants: The  director of the film, Dror Moreh, and security officials: Carmi Gillon (former head of the Shabak and vice president of the Hebrew University), Reuven Merhav (formerly senior Mossad and Shabak and Foreign Ministry Director) and Danny Yatom (formerly Mossad Chief, the military secretary of Prime Minister Rabin and Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Barak). 

The lectures were interesting, enriching, and engaged in political and cultural processes in the Middle East: Communication and Media in the Arab world, politics, conflict, gender and identity, relations between Israeli Jews and Palestinians and more.

See also: Conferences