Highlights from Last Night’s “Israel vs. Iran –
Is War Imminent?” Discussion
Thank you to the friends and guests of the Riverdale Y — especially Dr. Ronen Bergman, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, and Richard Joel — for making the inaugural event of The Rose Dialogue Series a success! More than 200 people came out to listen to and discuss the past, present and future of relations between Israel and Iran.
The evening was full of thought-provoking conversation with global Jewish leaders and community members alike. After drinks and dining with friends, guests made their way to the Riverdale Y theatre for the main panel event.
Renowned Israeli journalist and political expert Dr. Bergman, Riverdale’s own Rabbi Yitz Greenberg and Yeshiva University President Richard Joel engaged in an enlightening discussion about the past, present, and future of the conflict between Israel and Iran, taking into particular account the legacy of the Holocaust on the psyche of the modern Israeli state and global attitudes toward Israel. Some of our favorite quotes from the evening include:
“The good news is that in the last three to four years, Israeli intelligence has gained the upper hand in the clandestine war against our enemies. The bad news is that, in spite of a series of Israeli army successes, the situation with Iran has deteriorated.” – Dr. Bergman
“Israel’s success depends on 1) The ability to penetrate the enemy 2) The ability to translate information into operational capabilities and 3) A willingness to authorize the intelligence community to take on risky operations.” – Dr. Bergman
“Israeli soldiers go to work every day with a sense of a mission…2011 was the quietest year in the last twenty years, and this is thanks to the achievements of the Israeli intelligence community.” – Dr. Bergman
“Syria becoming a nuclear state would be catastrophic to the Israeli mindset, the Israeli spirit.” – Dr. Bergman
“The Holocaust has a very direct impact on what we do in Israel today.” – Dr. Bergman
“I think that Iran is creating a bomb to have an insurance policy, so that they can do whatever they want without fear of consequence or retribution.” – Dr. Bergman
“If there’s anything we’ve learned from our history, it’s to take people seriously when they say they want to destroy Israel.” – Rabbi Greenberg
“It has been less than seventy years since the Holocaust, and that fact has to guide our understanding of this issue. …No prime minister who feels responsible for the fate of the Jewish people could simply stand by and do nothing.” – Rabbi Greenberg
“There are profoundly important American interests here too; starting with the fact that Arab nations will start a nuclear arms race once Iran develops a nuclear bomb…There is also a moral responsibility. In the past, the abandonment of the Jews has meant the abandonment of our shared values.” – Rabbi Greenberg
“The main lesson of the Holocaust is that you have to have the power to protect yourself. Groups that feel oppressed learned that they can’t count on the general goodwill.” – Rabbi Greenberg
“I agree with those that claim that even if the Palestinian dispute was off the table, there would still be hatred toward Jews and Israel” – Dr. Bergman
“I don’t think the Iranian leaders are crazy. They work from a different set of interests.” – Dr. Bergman
Like all compelling conversations, the Dialogue left room for questions and provided fodder for discussion long after we left the theatre. We hope the event sparked your curiosity and that you will join us for future installments of The Rose Dialogue Series – stay tuned, and we’ll see you soon!