In 2006, arriving on the heels of Israel’s war with Hezbollah, this group experienced Israel at a difficult time. The group discussed the implications of this war, including the rule of law and human rights during wartime (with the Founder and President of the Re’ut Institute, Moti Cristal; and former Air Force Commander Eitan Ben Eliayhu, for example). Participants visited Rambam Hospital in Haifa where they met injured patients and hospital staff. They toured Israeli and Arab towns that had been damaged by missile fire with Col. (res) Kobi Marom, Former IDF Commander of the Eastern Front in South Lebanon. The group met with Arab and Israeli mayors to discuss Israel’s response to the conflict, humanitarian needs and the war’s impact on economic development. In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, participants met with former Ambassador to Spain, Herzl Inbar, visited Yad Vashem, and talked with recent immigrants. The group also met with Ziad Abu Ziyyad, the Chairman of the Law and Constitution Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
MADRID-On June 27th, 2007 over 500 Spaniards protested in front of the Embassy of Iran. They condemned Iran’s international propagation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as denial of the Holocaust, its policies of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and its incessant incendiary rhetoric against Israel.
PI alumni played a pivotal role on all fronts of the event’s coordination. Ricardo Ruiz de la Serna (Spanish Parliamentary Aids and Journalists, February 2005) was one of the chief organizers of the protest. Jorge Azpizua Turriòn (Spanish Parliamentarians, Analysts and Journalists, September 2006) led one of the preparatory meetings and also played a key role in the protest’s coordination.
Raul Vilas (Spanish Parliamentarians, Analysts and Journalists, September 2006) reported on the success of the demonstration in Libertad Digital, another major Spanish online magazine. Eva Fernández (Spanish Journalists and Parliamentarians, December 2004) reported on the protest on COPE, a premier Spanish radio station. Ana Samboal (Spanish Politicians and Reporters, February 2006), a news anchor of Telemadrid, a regional public TV network in Madrid, reported as well.
Finally, several PI alumni are signatories to the manifesto that inspired the protest, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party’s “Israel and the Defence of the Democratic Process in Spain.” They include Tomás Poveda, Eva Fernández (Spanish Journalists and Parliamentarians, December 2004); Francesc Marc Alvaro, Marc Guerreo (Spanish Parliamentary Aids and Journalists, February 2005); Daniel Sirera, Feliu-Joan Guillaumes (Spanish Politicians and Reporters, February 2006); and Juan Antonio Ruiz Castillo (Spanish Parliamentarians, Analysts and Journalists, September 2006).
Jorge Aspizua Turrión, HARKA Defense and Security Studies
I learned a lot about the pluralistic efforts for nation-building and the melting pot of ethnic groups that constitute Israel and, within her, Jewish society. I learned a lot while I was in Israel about the public programs that attempt to resolve conflicts and strengthen relationships among many sectors of Israeli civil society. This experience opened my mind to various ways of resolving similar troubles in Spain.
I especially enjoyed the sessions concerning religious linkages and influences along the spectrum of life in Israel. I was impressed by those similarities between Israel and Spain, two post-modern countries in the Mediterranean Basin in which religious traditions and customs serve as deep cultural influences - more so than in other nominally secular societies.
Alumni: David Bajona—articles on terrorism and the Lebanon War
- OTAN a Riga, visió des de Barcelona, passant per Kandahar
- La segona guerra (aèria) del Líban
- Combats terrestres al Líban
This has been a very interesting experience in order to increase my understanding of Israel and the Jewish Community. The view that the media offers more frequently about them is very limited and tends—perhaps by ignorance, perhaps by lack of time, perhaps by political intention—to simplify a very complex reality. I’m used to read about this subject only in terms of black and white, but the political conflict hides one of the more complex societies I have ever known…now I have also the conviction that Israeli society also wants to live in pace and that is also suffers the consequences of the political conflict.
The seminar was an excellent opportunity to increase my knowledge and understanding of the political, social and religious issues in Israel. Now for me it is easier to recognize the challenges facing the state of Israel and its citizens…I have now a closer approach to the (Jewish) community in my country and city. Also I am more aware of the anti-Semitic movements and positions around the world, especially in my country. I hope to help in the future to fight against those positions.
I can understand quite better the Spanish Jewish community and around the world, and of course I hope I can be in contact with them. I hope that the Community will keep me informed of their events, seminars, etc.
I feel this seminar has changed my way of understanding the Jewish problem, and I will manifest my collaboration in everything that helps the Jewish community. As a result of the seminar my vision has changed, and I will transfer this positively. My comprehension about the problems (faced by) Israel has increased considerably.