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Acclaimed Israeli writer, journalist and commentator visits UCLA

Acclaimed Israeli writer, journalist and commentator visits UCLA

Yossi Klein Halevi delivered a trio of public presentations, thanks to the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

By Rebecca Kendall
Director of Communications

Acclaimed Israeli writer, journalist and commentator Yossi Klein Halevi, who has been an active participant in the Middle East reconciliation efforts, recently came to UCLA to give a series of free public talks.

“He has a very nuanced and insightful understanding of the complicated nature of Israeli society, its relationship to the complexities of Jewish life and history, and its implications for the relations between Jews and non-Jews including — but not limited to — the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” said Arieh Saposnik, director of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israeli Studies, which organized Halevi’s visit. “He himself lives in two — or more — worlds. He is an observant Jew and can speak the language of Jewish tradition, but at the same time he is also, in many senses, a part of what one might call “secular Israel.”   

On Nov. 16, Halevi presented two talks: “Peoplehood and Identity in Contemporary Israeli Music” and “Jewish-Muslim-Christian Relations in the Holy Land: The Role of Religion in Middle East Peace-Keeping.” On Nov. 17, he discussed “Tent Cities, Israeli Democracy and the Jewish State: Toward a Zionism for the 21st Century.”

What makes Halevi a particularly interesting speaker,” said Saposnik, is the “significant spiritual, ideological and religious metamorphoses” that he has gone through during the course of his life. “His own life experiences are a reflection of his intellectual ability to inhabit and understand multiple worlds. With all of these complexities and with the depth of his thinking about them, he is extremely adept at presenting the issues in an accessible and compelling way.” 

Halevi is a frequent commentator on Israeli and Middle East affairs for CNN, the BBC and NPR.  He has also authored “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land” and “Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist,” which was called “a book of burning importance” by The New York Times. He is currently a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where he has lived since 1982.


Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies