2018 Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Eran LermanColonel (ret.) Dr. Eran Lerman Currently, Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies; formerly Deputy Director for Foreign Policy and International Affairs at the National Security Council in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. Dr. Lerman has held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years and has served as Director of the Israel and Middle East office of the American Jewish Committee. Dr. Lerman is an expert on Israel’s foreign relations, and on the Middle East. A third-generation Sabra, he holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, and a mid-career MPA from Harvard University. His publications include The Mediterranean as a Strategic Environment: Learning a New Geopolitical Language and The Game of Camps: Ideological Fault Lines in the Wreckage of the Arab State System.

Additional keynote speakers coming soon!

SESSION SPEAKERS


Historical Events:

Rafi DanzigerDr. Raphael Danziger is presently a consultant to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and formerly Chief Editor, and now Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, of the Near East Report, AIPAC’s flagship monthly publication on Middle East policy. Dr. Danziger has taught modern Middle East history at Haifa University and holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University.

Raphael Danziger’s Breakout Sessions will be: “Founding of the Modern State of Israel” and “History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict”

Bob EpsteinBob Epstein, a Military Historian, has an Academic Major in History, with a concentration in Military History. He has attended a number of colleges attending military history classes and has read over 5000 Military history books in the past 55 years. For the past 40 years, he has presented many programs on the Wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 to Synagogues and Rotary Clubs. And, for the past 12 years, has presented many Military History Programs to Civil Air Patrol Cadets, including Israel Military History from 1948 to present. Even though Bob has never served as an IDF solider, he has served with the Texas State Guard, 19th Military Police Brigade. Bob’s topic will focus on the history of the IDF, what the IDF is doing today and more. Sponsored by Raelaine and Paul Radnitz.

Bob Epstein’s Breakout Session will be: “History of Development of the IDF”

Charles PerkinsCharles Perkins, Assistant Director and Senior Military Affairs & Defense Policy Analyst of AIPAC’s Policy & Government Affairs. A multi-decade AIPAC veteran, Charles participates in coordinating AIPAC’s policy and legislative initiatives to build the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship and counter emerging threats to both nations.  He is a recognized expert on Israel missile defense technology, U.S./Israel missile defense collaboration, regional geopolitical trends, and Israel’s security needs and challenges.

Charles Perkins’s Breakout Session will be: “Israeli Missile Defenses – An Example of U.S./Israel Cooperation”

Asher SaidaAsher Saida, an Israeli Sabra, was born and raised in Azur, a small town outside of Tel Aviv.  During his youth, Asher was active as the chair of the Likud Youth Party in his town.  He served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in an infantry unit in Gaza. After finishing his IDF service, Asher started a security business that brought him to Dallas, where he subsequently married Rabbi Ariel Boxman, Rabbi Educator of Temple Shalom. Asher regularly gives talks on Israeli politics and the political conflicts generated as a result.

Asher Saida’s Breakout Session will be: “Israel’s Political System and its Effects on Israeli Society”

Jesse StockJesse Stock is the StandWithUs Texas Associate Director and an expert in Middle Eastern geopolitics. He studied Counter-Terrorism at the IDC Herzliya, Israel and American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA. He has spoken at the University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas, the University of Houston and high schools throughout greater Texas. He has appeared on CBS news and has trained thousands of people in how to respond to anti-Israel activities on campuses and in their communities. 

Jesse Stock’s Breakout Session will be: “The History of the Peace Process and Why No Peace?”


Support from the Pro-Israel Non-Jewish Communities:

Robert DeanDr. Robert Dean is a native of Houston, Texas and Pastor of West Houston Bible Church, and adjunct professor of Church History at Chafer Theological Seminary. Dr Dean has been an advocate of Israel most of his adult life. Since 2007 he has been an active member of AIPAC. He has been to Israel on tours sponsored by the Israeli foreign ministry, AIPAC, and Yad Vashem. He has also led numerous tour groups to Israel. One of his passions is studying the history of Zionism, both Christian and Jewish and helping Christians understand the importance of active support for Israel.

Robert Dean’s Breakout Sessions will be: “Why is Israel Important to the Christian community?” and “The Interconnection and Interdependence of Christian and Jewish Zionism from 1640 to 1900”

Fred MarounFred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of its civil war. A pro-Israel advocate, Mr. Maroun supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and promotes peace and economic cooperation by Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Palestinians, with Israel. Fred has authored op-eds and blogs for The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, New Canadian Media, and The Gatestone Institute. His writings have been translated into many languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, French, Polish, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

Fred Maroun’s Breakout Sessions will be: “How Non- Jewish Allies of Israel Can Effectively Support and Advocate for the State of Israel”


Israel’s Contributions to the World:

Moty AvisarMoty Avisar, Currently Chief Executive Officer of Surgical Theater. He is a graduate of Technion Israel Institute of Technology. He is also a former member of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, an Israeli Air Force officer, and head of the System Engineering Department of the Israeli Air Force. Building on his previous career as an Air Force officer and flight simulator expert, Moty assembled a team of bright-minded engineers to revolutionize the operating room and surgery experience. Precision VR™ introduces interactive, 360-degree virtual reality visualization to surgeons and their patients, based on a patient’s traditional imaging, including CT and MRI scans. During clinical consultations with Precision VR, the physician literally (and virtually) takes the patient on a walk-in tour of the patients’ own anatomical structure. For example, the doctor and the patient are standing with the artery to their right, the vessels to their left, then they look over their shoulder to observe the tumor- this VR tour facilitates a unique and unparalleled way to communicate the pathology and condition, the treatment options, treatment plan, the risks/benefits and may aid in obtaining patient consent. The VR visualization platform is being utilized at major medical institutions in the US and across the world.

Moty Avisar’s Breakout Session will be: Technion presents “SURGICAL THEATER: From Fighter Pilots to Surgeons; Using Virtual Reality to Perfect the Critical Mission”

Toba HellersteinToba Hellerstein is the new CEO of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic ties between Texas and Israel. She is also the President of the Israel-Texas Science & Education Foundation. She took the reins at the Chamber and the Foundation over a year ago after a successful career in international business development and foreign market advisory, with a special focus on the Israeli market. Toba has managed consulting projects for companies considering hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment in energy, infrastructure, high-tech, and defense. Earlier in her career, Toba worked as an analyst at the Israeli embassy in Paris where she also obtained a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Affairs from the top French diplomacy school, Sciences Po.

Toba Hellerstein’s Breakout Session will be: “Israel’s Role in Cyber-Security Technology”

Limor Lahav Limor Lahav , owner of a specialty artisanal Mediterranean food cooking and catering business. An Israeli sabra, her love and passion for Israeli food began when she was a small child watching and helping her grandmother cook and prepare authentic Mediterranean type meals for holidays and events. Limor has been in the U.S. for almost two decades and has been able to perfect her culinary skills and the ability to make people love her food desire through her skill with amazing, authentic Israeli dishes. She also specializes in adding some flare and breaking from “traditional” dishes with a more modern touch, including personalized dishes based upon customer requests, and also focuses her culinary skill to comport with dietary restrictions such as vegan and diabetic diets.

Limor Lahav ’s Breakout Session will be: “Israeli Delicacies – Anyone for shakshuka?”

Lynne M. QuittellLynne M. Quittell, M.D.. is the director of the North American office of BGU’s Medical School for International Health (MSIH). She has been involved in the program since 1996 and previously served as MSIH’s co-chair of admissions and associate director of student affairs. Dr. Quittell is a pediatric pulmonologist, on faculty at Columbia University, and has contributed to the development of clinical guidelines for cystic fibrosis. She served as the director of Columbia’s Cystic Fibrosis Center for 20 years, and has been on multiple national committees including the Cystic Fibrosis Center director’s committee. Dr. Quittell is associate director of the Data Safety Monitoring Board for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She received her medical degree in 1981 from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Lynne M. Quittell’s Breakout Session will be: “Tikkun Olam Without Borders: Healing the World Through Global Medicine”


Current Issues:

Gidon ArielGidon Ariel is the founder and CEO of Root Source. Root Source is an organization dedicated to promoting respectful relationships between pro-Israel Christians and Jews. Its flagship program brings knowledgeable, authentic Israeli teachers and curious Christians together to study the Jewish texts and concepts that are foundational to Christian faith. A visionary and pioneer in Jewish-Christian relations, Gidon made Aliyah to Israel when he was 14 and spent close to a decade in advanced Jewish studies institutes (Yeshivas) and the IDF. Gidon serves in the IDF reserves as a Captain in the Military Spokesperson’s Office after spending over 20 years in the Armored (Tank) Corps. An Orthodox Jew, he has kept Jewish traditions his entire life, and is a seasoned Hebrew and Judaism instructor. In Israeli politics, Gidon is a delegate to the Likud Party Central Committee (the Merkaz) and ran for the Maale Adumim city council. He also was the coordinator of anti-Disengagement activity in Maale Adumim, and the Mayor’s Advisor for International Affairs. Today, he is a member of the community council in Maale Hever, a Jewish suburb of Hebron, where he moved with his family in 2013.

Gidon Ariel’s Breakout Sessions will be: “The Settlements and Israeli Politics” and “An Orthodox Jew and Evangelical Christians- How Israel Has Brought Us Together”

Tal BeckerDr. Tal Becker is Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he leads educational initiatives on Israel and the Jewish world. In this capacity he is a leading member of the Institute’s “Engaging Israel” series which is the premier educational program on Israel engagement in North America. Dr. Becker also serves as the Legal Adviser of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has been a senior member of the Israeli peace negotiation team in repeated rounds of peace negotiations. He has years of experience on the front lines of many of Israel’s most pressing diplomatic, legal and policy challenges as a veteran negotiator, and key behind the scenes representative, for Israel in a wide variety of contexts. Among numerous previous positions, Dr. Becker has been a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, senior policy advisor to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, a lead negotiator and drafter in the Annapolis peace talks, Director of the International Law Department at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, counsel to Israel’s UN Mission in New York, and an international law expert for the Israel Defense Forces.  He earned his doctorate from Columbia University and, among numerous scholarly awards, is the winner of the Rabin Peace Prize and the 2007 Guggenheim Prize for best international law book for his book “Terrorism and the State”.

Tal will only speak for Session 1. Live from Israel.

Tal Becker’s Breakout Session will be: “The Changing Place of Israel in American Jewish Identity”

Ryan BelleroseRyan Bellerose is a Metis from Northern Alberta, Canada. A well known indigenous rights activist, Ryan’s extensive research of history and archaeology has enabled him to lecture and author worldwide published articles regarding many groups of indigenous peoples, and to support his findings that the Jewish people are indigenous to the Land of Israel. As a consequence, Mr. Bellerose is a self-proclaimed Zionist who speaks frequently to Zionist and Jewish youth groups in support of his findings.

Ryan Bellerose’s Breakout Session will be: “Are the Jewish People Indigenous to the Land of Israel?”

Ariel BoxmanRabbi Ariel Boxman is Rabbi-Educator for Temple Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation in Dallas, Texas. Rabbi Boxman’s passion for Israel, Israeli culture and Hebrew is demonstrated by her numerous trips to Israel, her participation in two study-abroad programs – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2005 and the NFTY-Eisendrath International Exchange in 2002, and her unequivocal promotion of Israel to the congregants of Temple Shalom.

Rabbi Boxman graduated in 2007 from American University in Washington D.C, with a major in International Relations and a minor in Israel Studies. She continued her studies at Hebrew Union College and was ordained as a rabbi in 2012. Following ordination, Rabbi Boxman enrolled in a Masters of Jewish Education program and in 2013 earned her degree as a Jewish Educator.

Ariel Boxman’s Breakout Session will be: “The Portrayal of Minorities (Arab, Ethiopians and the Orthodox) in Israeli Film”

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram EttingerAmbassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, a diplomat, author, lecturer and expert on U.S./Israel relations and Mideast affairs, is a consultant to members of Israel’s Cabinet and Knesset, and regularly briefs U.S. legislators and their staff on topics such as the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israel’s contribution to vital U.S. interests, Palestinian issues, the root causes of international terrorism, and on other issues of mutual concern.

Yoram Ettinger’s opinions have been published in Israel and in the United States, and is a regular interviewee on Israel and U.S. television and radio news programs. He is the author of the articles published in the highly regarded The Ettinger Report.
 
Ambassador (ret.) Ettinger, an Israeli, is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Texas at El Paso, has served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington, Israel’s Consul General in Houston and Director of Israel’s Government Press Office. He is the editor of “The Jerusalem Cloakroom” and “The Jerusalem Boardroom” newsletters on issues of national security and overseas investments in Israel’s high-tech industries.

Yoram Ettinger’s Breakout Sessions will be: “The Myth of Projected Jewish-Arab demographics: no Arab population time bomb has occurred” and “The Mutually-Beneficial US-Israel relations (What’s in it for the US?)”

Eric FoxEric Fox, A Fort Worth native, has long served as Director of Government Relations for Fort Worth based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LM Aero). Among other duties, Eric is responsible for all Government and Legislative support activities for LM Aero and is the coordinator for Congressional support for LM Aero business initiatives. Prior to working for LM Aero, and after earning a Bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, Eric served as Washington D.C. representative for Ashland Inc. where he was responsible for managing federal legislative and regulatory issues that affected two of Ashland’s wholly owned subsidiaries. He has also served as associate staff member for the House Appropriations Committee while working for Congressman Henry Bonilla of Texas.  Eric served in the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he was the Congressional Relations Officer for the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.  He has also served on the staffs of Senator Conrad Burns of Montana and Governor Don Sundquist of Tennessee, when Sundquist was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Not only a consummate professional, Eric Fox is a delightful, engaging individual.   

Eric Fox’s Breakout Session will be: “U.S. Role in Maintaining Israel’s Air Superiority in the Middle East”

Neil LazarusNeil Lazarus is a Jewish educator and an internationally acclaimed expert in the fields of Middle East politics, worldwide diplomacy, and effective communication to advance pro-Israel advocacy. He is fast emerging as one of Israel’s leading speakers, and because his presentations are motivating, informative and challenging, Neil is highly sought by governmental and pro-Israel organizations to educate their constituents, at a current rate of over 30,000 people a year. Come and see why he is in such demand.

Neil will only speak for Sessions 2,3 and 4. Live from Israel.

Neil Lazarus’s Breakout Sessions will be: “United We Stand Divided We Fall” and “Crisis in Israel- threats from Iran to chaos in Gaza”

Eran LermanColonel (ret.) Dr. Eran Lerman Currently, Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies; formerly Deputy Director for Foreign Policy and International Affairs at the National Security Council in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. Dr. Lerman has held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years and has served as Director of the Israel and Middle East office of the American Jewish Committee. Dr. Lerman is an expert on Israel’s foreign relations, and on the Middle East. A third-generation Sabra, he holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, and a mid-career MPA from Harvard University. His publications include The Mediterranean as a Strategic Environment: Learning a New Geopolitical Language and The Game of Camps: Ideological Fault Lines in the Wreckage of the Arab State System.

Eran Lerman’s Breakout Session will be: “The Three Pillars of the Special US-Israel Relationship: Interests, Values, and Politics”

Jacob MillnerJacob Millner is the Midwest Regional Director and Senior Policy Analyst with The Israel Project, a Washington D.C. based strategic communications organization.
 
In this position, Jacob has focused on state anti-BDS legislation. To date, Jacob has assisted, or overseen, successful legislative efforts in almost two-dozen states. In addition to this work, Jacob oversees The Israel Project’s board partnerships and coalitions program. 
 
Jacob graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in History and Political Science and completed graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. Originally from Chicago, Jacob currently resides in Plymouth, a western suburb of Minneapolis.

Jacob Millner’s Breakout Sessions will be: “Effect of the Media and Social Media on Israel” and “Attitudes of Different Generations Toward Israel”

Andrew PessionAndrew Pession is Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, as well as Campus Bureau Editor of The Algemeiner,, among the fastest growing Jewish newspapers in America. Professor Pessin has authored numerous academic articles and books, including a philosophy textbook and several books on the subject of philosophy for the lay reader. His current research is focused on philosophy matters relevant to both Judaism and Israel.

Andrew Pession’s Breakout Session will be: “State of the Campus”

Lillian PinkusLillian Pinkus

Lillian Pinkus currently serves as AIPAC Board Chair, having recently completed her term as AIPAC President. Lillian has been a pro-Israel advocate for decades. She was an active letter writer to the Dallas Morning News. She and her husband taught about Israel and the U.S. -Israel relationship in multiple Methodist and Presbyterian Churches for a number of years. Currently, Lillian is involved in pro-Israel politics, both locally and nationally.

Lillian holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MEd from Harvard University. She began her professional career in youth work at Temple Emanu El in Dallas. Lillian and Jon have two sons, Jared, married to Samantha and Aaron married to Pamela. They also have two grand daughters Tara Rose and Chandler Drew. Best club ever!

Lillian Pinkus’s Breakout Session will be: “The Criticality of Bi-Partisanship to the U.S./Israel Relationship”

Niv RabinoNiv Rabino is IsraAID’s Director of Programs and Outreach in the US and the head of Mission in Texas, formerly, the head of Mission in Greece on the Island of Lesvos. Niv was responsible for IsraAID’s operations immediately after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and is currently implementing short and long-term programs in the US to mitigate and reduce disaster risks and increase volunteer response. Prior to his role in IsraAID, Niv served as Tzedek’s (UK) Program Manager in Ghana, working in volunteer management and long-term development projects with local NGO. Projects included poverty alleviation, education and medical services. Born in Haifa, Israel, and an Israeli/American citizen, Niv completed an undergraduate degree at Columbia University that included research in 5 countries concentrating on Global Public Health.

Niv Rabino’s Breakout Session will be: “Israel on the Disaster Forefront – IsraAID’s Global Humanitarian Aid Agency”

Professor Gerald SteinbergProfessor Gerald Steinberg Prof. Gerald Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University, where he founded the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation. His research interests include international relations, Middle East diplomacy and security, the politics of human rights and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Israeli politics and arms control.

Prof. Steinberg founded NGO Monitor following the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa, where powerful NGOs, claiming to promote human rights, hijacked the principles of morality and international law.  NGO Monitor provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and supports discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas.

In 2013, Professor Steinberg accepted the prestigious Menachem Begin Prize on behalf of NGO Monitor, recognizing its “Efforts exposing the political agenda and ideological basis of humanitarian organizations that use the Discourse of human rights to discredit Israel and to undermine its position among the nations of the world.”

In 2017, Professor Steinberg accepted the Nefesh b’Nefesh Bonei Zion prize on behalf of his in recognition of his and NGO Monitor’s contributions to the State of Israel.

Steinberg is a member of Israel Council of Foreign Affairs; the Israel Higher-Education Council, Committee on Public Policy; advisory board of the Israel Law Review International, the research working group of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and participates in the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA). He also speaks at a variety of high-level government sessions and academic conferences worldwide.

Publications include “NGOs, Human Rights, and Political Warfare in the Arab-Israel Conflict” (Israel Studies); “The UN, the ICJ and the Separation Barrier: War by Other Means” (Israel Law Review); Best Practices for Human Rights and Humanitarian NGO Fact-Finding (co-author), Nijhoff, Leiden, 2012, and “Filling in the Blanks: Documenting Missing Dimensions in the UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict”, 2015.

His op-ed columns have been published in Wall St. Journal (Europe), Financial Times, Ha’aretz, International Herald Tribune, Jerusalem Post, and other publications. He has appeared as a commentator on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and NPR.

Gerald Steinberg’s Breakout Session will be: “Human Rights Hijacked for Hate: Fighting the Campaigns to Delegitimize Israel”

Chaim SukenikProfessor Chaim Sukenik grew up in Miami Beach, Florida. He attended college at Yeshiva University (NYC) and went on for a PhD in Chemistry at Cal Tech. After a post-doc at UCLA, he served for 18 years as a Professor of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH). In 1984 and 1992, he did sabbaticals at the Weizmann Institute and at the Hebrew University. He made Aliyah in 1995 to become a Professor of Chemistry at Bar Ilan University. While at Bar Ilan he served as Dean of Exact Sciences and helped create the Bar Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology. In 2013 he was appointed to his current position as President of the Jerusalem College of Technology.

Chaim Sukenik’s Breakout Sessions will be: “Torah to Technology – The Role of Jerusalem College of Technology” and “Getting Under-represented Populations to Fully Participate in the Start-up Nations”

Dov YardenDov Yarden In March 2008, Dov Yarden was appointed NGO Monitor’s first CEO in order to oversee the management and day to day operations of the organization. He is responsible for all aspects of NGO Monitor’s finances as well as for financial planning, personnel, and donor relations.

Prior to joining NGO Monitor, Dov was a hi-tech entrepreneur for over 20 years. He was one of the founders of Unicorn Solutions, a company that develops software for metadata management. Dov was responsible for managing their global Information Technologies and Administration. In 2006, Unicorn Solutions was bought by IBM.

After leaving IBM, Dov desired to return to the “start-up” world, and was intrigued by the opportunity to apply his business experience and the logic of the high-tech industry to the relatively new organization, NGO Monitor. Upon joining NGO Monitor, Dov filled a much needed void, aiding the organization in growing from a six person team to an organization of over 25 full-time staff. Dov’s leadership has led NGO Monitor to become recognized around the world for its unique work in monitoring human rights organizations’ activities and donors in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Dov has always been active in community service and leadership positions. After completing college, Dov moved to Israel from Australia in 1988 and served in the Israel Defence Force. Dov holds a certificate in Business Entrepreneurship from Hebrew University.

Dov Yarden Breakout Session will be: “Stopping BDS at the Source: A Behind the Scenes Look at Cutting NGO Funding”