The Argov Fellowship Program, as part of their studies of leadership and diplomacy, met with former Ambassador Moshe Arens to learn about the key ingredients of leadership and the current challenges facing the country. Moshe Arens, an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher, and former diplomat was a member of the Likud party, and served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Foreign Minister. In the past, he was also ambassador of Israel to the United States and a distinguished professor at the Technion University in Haifa. On April 1, 2009, Mr. Arens visited the Argov Fellows program to tell us about the essence of Leadership in Israel. “Politics,” he said “is not a pleasant occupation…but somebody’s ‘gotta do it”. Mr. Arens also mentioned that if you are good and show you have something to offer your country, your country will undoubtedly benefit from you. Mr. Arens touched upon the issues of Israel’s new parliament, concessions with Syria, the captured soldier phenomenon, today’s Israeli Defense Forces, terrorism and ideas on possibly improving the current Israeli electoral system (among many others). Of course, we were all excited to hear about the personal experiences of a true expert, and get the ‘inside scoop’ on Mr. Arens’ governmental endeavors.
In our future endeavors, Mr. Arens explained that the secret ingredient to success is motivation. He continued by speaking about specific challenges facing our country. One of the main issues facing Israel today is the lack of minority integration within the land. It is the responsibility of the Israeli government to take the initiative and integrate the Arab population within the land, if their will ever be a chance of change. While some may believe that Arab hostility comes from a pure desire to destroy the Jewish aspect of Israel, one must realize that the Arab minority is reacting not out of hatred but primarily out of frustration. Mr. Arens explained that we must be able to integrate the Arab citizens into Israeli society, give them the same chances and benefits as all other Israeli citizens and truly make them feel like they belong in this land. It is only through this effective integration and cooperation, that Israel will gain the upper hand in negotiations with its hostile neighbors and maintain the support of the internaitonal community.
Israel also faces the dire situation of the Iranian nuclear threat. With the Persian New Year just behind us (Eid E’Nowrooz), the US President Obama proclaims to have a new ‘Iran Plan’ of engagement and dialogue with the Iranian population in order to halt the nuclear threat and stabilize the Iranian nation. President Obama, among others, believes that communication and interaction with the Iranian government and people will be the most effective way to reach a peaceful relationship between America, Iran and Israel. Feeding into this notion, Obama also expressed that in order for Arab citizens to be integrated into Israeli society, Israel must do the same (as America is doing to Iran) and reach out and commit to her minority citizens. Societal outreach is essentially the main tool with which to stop internal tension in the Israel. As soon as the minority feels as they are a part of the land, they will prove themselves an asset to the country and in turn strive to make it better. Arens emphasized that it is among us, the Jewish inhabitants of Israel to take it upon ourselves and offer the same benefits to the Arab population as we are currently receiving.