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Ben Caspit, an Israel correspondent for Al-Monitor, brings you weekly interviews with newsmakers and officials to discuss the latest news in Israel. Ben is no stranger to broadcast, hosting a daily radio show from Tel Aviv and frequently appearing on television and radio programs. Caspit is one of Israel’s most in-demand journalists and his columns – deeply sourced and vividly written -- are must reads for his take on the latest political developments. His most recent book is The Netanyahu Y ...
 
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show series
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Yonatan Adiri, a leading Israeli digital healthcare entrepreneur. Adiri, a former adviser of late President Shimon Peres, explains that most of Israel’s startup leadership is avantgarde, pushing forward visions for the next internet wave. "Companies like Wix or Fiverr or Mymed, and so many other across biotech, acro…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg. The minister explains that while Israel is a small country in terms of population and its contribution to global pollution, it is also very fragile in terms of the effects of climate change such as bush fires and floods. The latter are expected to increase heavily in…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Lt. Col. (res.) Peter Lerner, the former director of international media at the IDF's spokesperson’s office. Commenting on Israel’s repeated failures in the field of public diplomacy, Lerner says that “In Israel, we are very good at improvising, we are fantastic with innovation, but public accountability, responsibi…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week on his podcast David Makovsky, the Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Commenting on recent signs of tensions between Washington and Jerusalem on the Palestinian issue and other topics, Makovsky says that “We have a situation where both President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naft…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Geneva Initiative-Israel Director General Gadi Baltiansky. Commenting on the recent decision by Israeli authorities to advance construction of homes in West Bank settlements, Baltiansky says that "the Americans don’t want a confrontation with the Israeli government, and vice-versa. The US administration still senses…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week Alon Ben David, the senior military analyst for Channel 13 news. Ben David says that "in 2012 Israel abandoned practicing and preparing for a viable military option [to attack Iran]. Netanyahu was responding to requests made by the American administration at the time. Now the Israeli army is back to doing what it should h…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week to Dr. Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University. Zisser, an expert on Syria and Lebanon, reacts to recent incidents in Beirut, noting that while Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is strong, he also has his own constraints and sources of weakness — particularly since not all the Shiites in Lebanon are following him.…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week on his podcast Professor Eviatar Matania of Tel-Aviv University, who has played a key role in turning Israel into a world cyber power. The book he coauthored recently with Amir Rapaport, titled Cybermania, has created a stir in Israel and elsewhere. Matania explains that in this domain, Israel is a real player, not just p…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Shmuel Rosner, the political editor of the Jewish Journal and a long-time contributor to the New York Times. Rosner says that the recent meeting in New York of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with leaders of the American Jewish community was successful, first and foremost because they were happy to meet an Israeli pr…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Channel 12’s diplomatic correspondent Dana Weiss. The senior analyst comments about Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appearing on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2021. What is amazing, she notes, is not that Bennett was included in the list, but rather that Arab politician Mansour Abbas woul…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week Israel’s former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren. Ambassador Oren explains that while former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach made the Iranian threat an Israeli issue, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is trying to internationalize it again. Still, Oren says that Israel must also remind the internatio…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Professor Yossi Shain, an international expert on political science who recently left the academic world to join Israeli politics. The new member of the Knesset from Yisrael Beitenu says that after the United States' painful withdrawal from Afghanistan, it must now reevaluate and determine American interests in the …
 
Ben Caspit talks this week with Moty Cristal, CEO and founder of NEST Consulting. Lt. Col. (res) Cristal, who served in the past as a negotiator and adviser in the prime minister’s office, comments on the Aug. 27 meeting between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. According to Cristal, "The chemistry between the two l…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Maya Jacobs, who heads Israeli NGO Zalul Environmental Association. For Jacobs, even though the new cabinet calls itself the government of change, no real change has been seen on environmental issues and no real commitment was made to addressing the dangers of climate change. "Despite having new governments in the U…
 
Ben speaks this week with Maj. (res.) Danny Citrinowicz, one of Israel’s most notable experts on Iran, its proxies in the region and its nuclear ambitions. Citrinowicz refers to the barrage of 19 rockets fired by Hezbollah against Israel last Friday. He explains that Hezbollah’s main concern in general is the deterrence equation with Israel. Hezbol…
 
Ben hosts this week legislator Gaby Lasky of the leftwing Meretz party. Lasky, a human rights activist who had served as head of anti-occupation NGO Peace Now, is now member of the new ruling coalition, headed by pro-settler Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Lasky says that five months ago no one could have imagined such a coalition could be formed o…
 
Following recent revelations that governments were spying on journalists, opposition politicians, activists and others using Pegasus spyware, Ben speaks this week with two representatives of NSO Group, the company that developed Pegasus. Brig. Gen. (res.) Ariella Ben Avraham currently serves as Global Communication Executive at NSO, while Shmuel Su…
 
This week Ben speaks with retired Israeli Major General Noam Tibon, who is specialized in counter-terrorism and homeland security. The former Commander of the Northern Formation commented on statements made last week by outgoing IDF Deputy Chief Yoav Zamir about the IDF becoming too small. Tibon says that, globally, the Israeli army is strong enoug…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with former ambassador Dr. Haim Koren. The former envoy to Egypt and South Sudan says that all Israeli governments, including the new government under the leadership of Naftali Bennett, have been and are interested in preserving and developing strategic relations with Jordan. "I expect that doubling the quantity of water…
 
Ben Caspit speaks with Minister of Diaspora Affairs Dr. Nachman Shai, who came back this week from a mission to Miami. The minister had accompanied an Israeli rescue team sent there to assist recovery efforts at the site of the collapsed building. Referring to the deterioration in Israel’s relations with the American progressive Judaism community, …
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Yizhar Hess, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization. Discussing the crisis created by the former government vis-à-vis the Jewish diaspora in general — and American Jews in particular — Hess says he is now pinning his hopes on the new government to change this reality. Hess says that despite the agreement am…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Speaking just minutes after the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, Olmert says former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his "thugs" in the Knesset behaved shamefully, yelling and shouting at Israel’s new PM Naftali Bennett as he delivered his inauguration speech. "You may di…
 
On the backdrop of an especially turbulent week in Israeli politics, Ben Caspit speaks with Oren Magnezy, co-founder of a business accelerator that helps Israeli start-ups work with the US Department of Defense. The former strategic adviser to prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert says, “What Benjamin Netanyahu fears most is a moment when he…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with former Blue and White Knesset member Ruth Wasserman Lande. Wasserman, a strategic expert, public speaker and Middle East affairs’ commentator, talks about recent clashes in Jewish-Arab mixed cities, arguing there was no symmetry between attacks on Jews and attacks on Arabs. She claims the number of attacks against A…
 
Ben Caspit hosts this week on his podcast Orit Perlov, a leading social media analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies who specializes in social networks in the Arab world. Perlov said that Gazans were shocked over the outbreak of violence and barrages of rockets fired against Israel. "The writing was not on the wall. Nobody in Gaza w…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with strategist Eran Etzion, who previously served as head of planning policy at Israel’s foreign ministry and as deputy head of the National Security Council in the prime minister's office. Etzion argues that the main reason for the escalation we now see both in east Jerusalem and the West Bank is Prime Minister Benjami…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week to professor Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. This expert on Israel’s national security strategy and Israel’s decision-making processes details five failures which brought about the tragedy of Mount Meron, where 45 people were trampled to death last week. For Freilich, the first …
 
For his podcast this week, Ben Caspit hosts Tal Schneider, political correspondent for The Times of Israel. Schneider, an expert on Israel-US relations, says violence similar to that seen at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 is unlikely to happen in Israel. "Storming the Knesset is not really an option," she says. Yet if an anti-Netanyahu government is form…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with senior researcher and policy-planning expert Udi Evental. The former IDF colonel warns that Israel’s current policies on Iran and confronting the Biden administration over a return to the nuclear deal were crafted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alone, without any consultation or a decision-making process. Even…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Labor party chair Merav Michaeli, who succeeded in reviving a party on the brinks of demise. Despite gloom public opinion polls, under her leadership the Labor party garnered seven seats in the March 23 Knesset elections. Referring to the strong correlation between the party and the foundation of the country, Michae…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Shimrit Meir, a senior Middle East analyst and journalist. The veteran commentator hails the exceptional campaign delivered by leader of the Arab Ra’am party Mansour Abbas. She says that Abbas’ preferred option is not a coalition with the center-left, but a coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ri…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Haaretz political analyst Chaim Levinson. The veteran columnist says that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins in the upcoming elections, Israel could witness new legislation that would completely change the structure of its democracy. Explaining the electoral success of Israel’s premier, Levinson says Netanyah…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week with Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute. Plesner warns that the undermining of Israel’s democracy may seem unconceivable, but is indeed possible. For Plesner, some eastern European countries — where democracy is being eroded — are models that Israel should not learn from. "Under certain circumsta…
 
As tensions between Israel and Iran continue to rise, Ben Caspit speaks with former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy, who says Israel should revisit the issue of the Iran nuclear deal. "It would be a mistake to adopt the policy adopted by Israel when President [Donald] Trump came in, convincing him to leave the [deal]…Once you leave an agreement you no l…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Ambassador Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former consul general in New York and an expert on Israel-US relations. Pinkas discusses what the US declassified intelligence report on Jamal Khashoggi means for Israel-Saudi ties …and US-Israel relations. Faced with this new reality, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to t…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week with Yaron Zelekha, an economist who was formerly the finance ministry's accountant general and is the founder of the New Economy party. Zelekha warns that Israel has no economic policy, and that Israel has no state budget and has not launched any reforms in the past decade. More worrying, he says, is the fact that the ci…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with ambassador Nadav Tamir, the executive director of J Street Israel. Tamir argues that J Street is very much in sync with the new administration, so if Israel wants to have a good relation with it, then good relations with J Street must be part of that. He also says that "In order for Israel to be the homeland of the …
 
Ben Caspit talks this week with the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism Gilad Kariv. Running on the Israeli Labor Party's list for the March 23 elections, Kariv hopes to be the first non-Orthodox rabbi in the Knesset. Kariv criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for caving in to ultra-Orthodox pressure…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week to former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, a long-time expert on Israel-US relations. Oren speaks about the nomination of Robert Malley as the new American special envoy to Iran, noting that "his appointment to the very sensitive position is not likely to dispel Israeli concerns or ease Israeli anxieties." H…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with former Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan. The veteran leader of West Bank settlers describes former President Donald Trump as a "diplomatic miracle" for the state of Israel, saying that the diplomatic dividends in his term were beyond Israel’s wildest imagination. On the other hand, Ambassador Dayan admi…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week to former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about President-elect Joe Biden’s impending term, and how future ties between Jerusalem and Washington will look. Shapiro notes that "Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have known each other for 40 years, and [there’s] a real friendship between them." He says that…
 
Ahead of a crucial Knesset vote on Tuesday, Ben Caspit speaks with Knesset member Eli Avidar of the opposition Yisrael Beitenu party. Over the past few months, Avidar has become one of the leaders of the demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with demonstrators calling for the premier to step down. Avidar notes that no other demo…
 
With Israel's Knesset advancing towards possible fourth elections, Ben Caspit talks this week with Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz. The leftwing politician does not rule out partnering with rightwing partners in order to achieve the supreme goal of toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We are in times of unprecedented economic, corona and poli…
 
Ben Caspit talks this week with Israeli-Arab journalist Lucy Aharish. The media celebrity warns that Israel’s democracy and freedom of speech are shaky and even endangered. She says that with only a small number of media outlets, social media has become more powerful and louder in Israel than anywhere else on the globe. On the other hand, she says,…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Orit Farkash Hacohen, Israel’s minister of tourism and strategic affairs. The Blue and White minister says an organized campaign on Arabic social media is now targeting the UAE, Bahrain and all other countries who have chosen the route of normalization with Israel. “In the ministry, we exposed this campaign for what…
 
Ben Caspit speaks this week with Brig. Gen. (ret) Michael Herzog, former chief of staff to Israel's defense minister, who discusses what Israel might expect from a Biden Administration, noting that "President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris have special feelings towards Israel’" which will keep the relationship with Israel st…
 
Ben Caspit spoke with Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist Haim Saban, who is hailing Joe Biden’s victory. Saban thinks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still afraid of the unpredictable nature of President Donald Trump, who "shoots from the hip," and could turn against Netanyahu in a heartbeat. On the Democrats, Saban says that…
 
One day after former Vice President Joe Biden was declared winner of the US presidential election, Ben Caspit talks with Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. Katz says that Netanyahu now faces an uphill battle vis-à-vis the Democrats, who have not forgotten his animosity towards the Barack Obama administration. Katz notes he was shoc…
 
Four days before the presidential elections, Ben Caspit spoke with Dan Gillerman, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations. Gillerman thinks that whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden is elected, the US administration will strive for a deal with Iran. He also said that the trend of Arab countries normalizing ties with Israel will continue and i…
 
On the backdrop of Israel’s tenth annual cyber-tech conference, Ben Caspit speaks with Professor General (ret.) Itzhak Ben- Israel. Ben-Israel – a pioneer figure in the cyber technology sphere – tells how the country took it first steps in transforming technological know-how into civil and security uses. Still, Ben-Israel warns, ‘’Unlike most of ou…
 
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