FOLCS Headlines: All Eyes on Israel and Hamas

October 30, 2023

The world is on fire. There is a war in Israel and Gaza, and it’s looking as if it won’t be just Israel retaliating against Hamas. Iran and Hezbollah have issued threats, and the United States has deployed its Naval fleet. But this conflict is wider, still. Demonstrations, with the burning of American and Israeli flags, have erupted around the world. Similar protests, seemingly in support of Hamas’ carnage in southern Israel, are taking place on certain American college campuses. Top universities are facing antisemitism accusations, losing longtime donors as Jewish students fear for their safety. And there is a worsening humanitarian crisis in Southern Gaza.

With the overwhelming amount of news coming out of the region, media literacy has become more important than ever. As if the devastation coming from the crisis isn’t enough to process on its own, the amount of misinformation being shared, both intentionally and not, is unnerving. FOLCS assembled a team of Israel experts — direct sources who were able to break down the latest events and where we are headed.

FOLCS‘ ambitious Headlines Series event covered these issues, featuring Tal Heinrich, spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Dr. Einat Wilf, former Knesset Member; Judy Maltz, Senior Correspondent for Haaretz; and Kobi Michael, fellow with the Institute for National Security Studies.

With opening remarks from Dr. Alan Kadish, President of Touro University.

Tal Heinrich
Journalist, News Anchor, Spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Tal Heinrich currently serves as spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. On October 7th, 2023, she got called up to speak to the international media following the October 7th Hamas massacre.

Tal is an Israeli journalist and news anchor based in New York. She reports and provides analysis on U.S. politics and foreign affairs for Israel’s Channel 14, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and writes about the Middle East for ALL-ISRAEL-NEWS. She previously anchored the daily primetime show ‘Crossroads’ on i24NEWS from Times Square and covered the United Nations as a correspondent.

Back in Israel, she produced for CNN International from the network’s Jerusalem bureau and contributed content during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza, the 2015 re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, and the terror wave known as the “Knife Intifada”.

In 2013, Tal worked as parliamentary assistant at the German Bundestag as part of its flagship International fellowship program. She is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic and German. Tal holds a B.A. in Arabic literature and history, and a master’s degree in Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies.

Dr. Einat Wilf
Former Israeli Politician

Dr. Einat Wilf is a leading thinker on Israel, Zionism, foreign policy and education. She was a member of the Israeli Parliament from 2010 to 2013, where she served as Chair of the Education Committee and Member of the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Wilf served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces, Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres and a strategic consultant with McKinsey & Company.

Dr. Wilf has a BA from Harvard, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. She was the Goldman Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and is a lecturer at Reichman University in Israel.

Dr. Wilf is the author of seven books that explore key issues in Israeli society. “We Should All Be Zionists“, published in 2022, brings together her essays from the past four years on Israel, Zionism and the path to peace; the co-authored “The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace”, was published in 2020.

Judy Maltz
Senior Correspondent, Haaretz

Judy Maltz is a senior correspondent for Haaretz newspaper in Israel, currently based in the New York area. As part of her new assignment, she is responsible for coverage of North American Jewish life. An award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, she was one of the founding editors of the Haaretz English edition and has reported for both the Hebrew and English editions of the paper. For the past 11 years, she served as an enterprise reporter at the English edition, responsible for coverage of the Jewish world and Israel’s relationship with Diaspora Jewry.

Kobi Michael
Senior Researcher, Institute for National Security Studies

Prof. Kobi Michael is a senior researcher at INSS and editor in chief of “Strategic Assessment” and a visiting professor at the International Centre for Policing and Security University of South Wales UK. Among his primary research interests are conflict resolution; strategy; national security; civil-military relations; failed states and peace keeping and state building operations; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Prof. Michael served as the deputy director general and head of the Palestinian desk at the Ministry for Strategic Affairs. He was a member of the faculty at Ben Gurion University (2008-2011), a senior faculty member at Ariel University (2013-2015), and a visiting professor at Northwestern University in Illinois (2006-7) and Peking University in Beijing (2017). He has published widely in his field – including 20 books and monographs and over 100 articles and chapters in books – and has been awarded several academic prizes, among them, the Yariv Prize, the Tshetshik Prize, the Yitzhak Sadeh Prize, and the Israeli Association for Political Science Prize, awarded for the best book of 2008-9.