100 episodes

A weekly exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World right now.

What Matters Now The Times of Israel

    • News
    • 4.2 • 9 Ratings

A weekly exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World right now.

    What Matters Now to Rav Doron Perez: Life after his hostage son's death

    What Matters Now to Rav Doron Perez: Life after his hostage son's death

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    A month before the Hamas onslaught on Israel's south that would claim the life of his son, Rav Doron Perez inked a deal to translate to Hebrew his English-language book, "The Jewish State From Opposition to Opportunity: A Vision for Unity in Israel and Why the World Needs It."

    In the book, the Johannesburg-born Executive Chairman of the Mizrachi World Movement, also a member of the board of the World Zionist Organization, aims to use an "old-new spiritual approach to the Jewish state," in part to help bridge the country's widening gaps.

    And then, on October 7, the Perez family suffered a double blow in learning that eldest son Yonatan was injured and second child Daniel was missing. It was only after 163 days of uncertainty that the family learned that Daniel was indeed killed on that bloody Saturday after a heroic battle for the protection of Nachal Oz.

    Now, Perez is reconciling this unmeasurable loss with his staunch Religious Zionism, even as some in Israel would give in to a very understandable anger and blame.

    This week on What Matters Now, we talk about the past almost eight months in which the family incrementally learned of Daniel’s fate.

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

    IMAGE: In this 2021 image, Rav Doron Perez (center) poses with his two soldier sons Yonatan (left, then 22) and Daniel (then 20), who was slain on October 7, 2023, and his remains captured by Hamas and taken to Gaza. (courtesy)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Reasons for optimism in Israel’s 77th year

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Reasons for optimism in Israel’s 77th year

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    The Cambridge Dictionary defines "optimism" as "the quality of being full of hope and emphasizing the good parts of a situation, or a belief that something good will happen." Looking at war-torn Israel today, it is a quality that appears to be in short supply.

    But in this week's What Matters Now, The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur points out that while things look bleak now, there are several reasons for optimism.

    We begin the program by discussing Israel's 5th place on the annual World Happiness Report, which, in addition to self-assessed evaluations of life satisfaction, is also based on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption. Incredibly, the self-reported Israeli data was collected following the October 7 massacre of 1,200 individuals and hostage-taking of 252 by Hamas terrorists and the resultant, ongoing war in Gaza.

    Even faced with a "negative outlook" by ratings agency S&P Global and Moody’s Investors Service on the Israeli economy, Rettig Gur finds signs of economic optimism -- stemming from the Haredi community.

    So this memorial week, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. IMAGE: People celebrate Israel's 76th Independence Day at Saker Park in Jerusalem, May 14, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What is antisemitism, really?

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What is antisemitism, really?

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene -- a Georgia Republican who has been criticized in the past for her dalliances with antisemitic tropes and influencers -- explained her vote against a bill defining antisemitism by saying that the bill rejects the “gospel” that “the Jews” handed Jesus over to his crucifiers.

    When the Georgia Republican stated these "facts," she echoed thousands of years of blood libel used to excuse the antisemitic massacre of Jews.

    In this week's What Matters Now, The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur explains some of the history behind this statement and how antisemitism differs from "regular" racism.

    We see how antisemitism plays out in the ongoing anti-Israel protests on North American university campuses and discuss how a majority of the over 2,000 arrested in recent weeks have not actually been college students.

    On Monday, we in Israel marked Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and for next week are looking ahead to Memorial Day and Independence Day. Rettig Gur looks at how these days affect Israelis -- and why they are observed day-after-day.

    So in a week in which US President Joe Biden denounces rising antisemitism, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

    IMAGE: A woman wears a hat that reads 'Curb Your Antisemitism' during a rally against campus antisemitism at George Washington University on May 2, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images/AFP)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 32 min
    What Matters Now to two Jewish student leaders at Columbia: 'Intifada' on campus

    What Matters Now to two Jewish student leaders at Columbia: 'Intifada' on campus

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    Police cleared 30 to 40 people from inside Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night after protesters against Israel occupied the administration building in New York earlier in the day. Hundreds of New York Police Department officers acted after the school’s president said there was no other way to ensure safety and restore order on campus and sought help from the police.

    The confrontation occurred more than 12 hours after the demonstrators took over Hamilton Hall shortly after midnight Tuesday, spreading their reach from an anti-Israel tent encampment elsewhere on the grounds that’s was there for nearly two weeks.

    This week we speak with two Jewish student leaders from Columbia University, Eden Yadegar, the president of Columbia's chapter of Students Supporting Israel, and Elisha H. Baker, a senior editor at the Columbia Political Review.

    We speak about the pro-Palestine encampment that has sparked a wave of copycat protests throughout campuses in the United States. But we also set the scene on the Columbia campus, which led up to these protests and hear about an atmosphere in which latent antisemitism was released from its cage after the October 7 Hamas onslaught on southern Israel in which terrorists massacred 1,200 and took 253 individuals hostage.

    We also hear about how Yadegar, after speaking at a congressional roundtable about on-campus antisemitism organized by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce alongside students from eight other universities, returned to campus to face derision.

    So this week, we ask Columbia University students Eden Yadegar and Elisha H. Baker, what matters now?

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

    IMAGE: Columbia University students Eden Yadegar and Elisha H. Baker lead songs in support of Israel on October 12, 2023 at the Columbia University campus in New York. (courtesy)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Is it wise for US to blacklist IDF unit?

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Is it wise for US to blacklist IDF unit?

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    This week, we speak with The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur about the controversial Netzah Yehudah battalion that is on the docket for blacklisting by the United States under the 1997 Leahy Law.

    In August 2022, Israeli troops from the religious Netzah Yehuda battalion were filmed beating two Palestinian detainees in the West Bank in a video posted to the TikTok video-sharing site. Three soldiers were seen repeatedly kicking two Palestinian men near Ramallah as a fourth soldier stands nearby. They were suspended and investigated.

    This well-publicized beating came months after the death of Omar As’ad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-American who died after being detained, handcuffed, blindfolded, and later abandoned in near-freezing conditions by soldiers of the battalion.

    As Washington is increasingly clamping down on extremist Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, the State Department probed Netzah Yehuda and several of the other units in the Israeli security forces for well over a year due to alleged human rights violations.

    While the State Department looks into thousands of allegations of Leahy Law violations each year, it created a special panel known as the Israel Leahy Vetting Forum that exclusively vets allegations against the IDF and Israel Police due to the political sensitivity of the issue.

    So this week in which an IDF unit may be defunded by the United States, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now? 

    With contributions from Jacob Magid. 

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

    IMAGE: Israeli soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion patrol near the Israeli-Gaza border, October 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 38 min
    What Matters Now to Mideast analyst Avi Issacharoff: Iran can have nukes in 6 months

    What Matters Now to Mideast analyst Avi Issacharoff: Iran can have nukes in 6 months

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

    In a post-October 7 Israeli reality, is any new security threat outside the realm of imagination?

    This week, when over 300 projectiles were sent from Iran to Israel, we pose this question to journalist and hit Israeli drama "Fauda" co-creator Avi Issacharoff.

    Legions of fans around the world know of Issacharoff’s fiction writing from the popular television series, loosely based on his experiences in the IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit, that is written alongside "Fauda" star Lior Raz. (We'll hear a story of their post-October 7 real-life bravery during our conversation.)

    But Issacharoff is first and foremost a long-time, die-hard journalist and analyst of the Arab world -- one who has put his life on the line in the past to cover a story.

    We pick Issacharoff’s brain as we unpick the knotty situation Israel is currently facing with enemies on our borders, and Iran as a puppet master who is coming increasingly closer to a nuclear bomb.

    So this week, we ask journalist Avi Issaharoff, What Matters Now.

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

    IMAGE: Mideast analyst Avi Issacharoff, one of the co-creators of the Israeli TV drama 'Fauda,' (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

GHWIPro ,

Worth listening for Israel insights

Well done the TOI team for excellent coverage of current events in Israel. I’m a regular listener to the Daily Briefing. The two revolving host of that and this show have a relaxed style that belies their sharp and insightful comments and observations. Very easy to listen to. Guests from the TOI team are great, particular call out to Haviv Rettig Gur.

jlem millenial ,

Interesting topics but change host?

I don’t think the host has a natural skill for narrating or hosting a conversation.

Top Podcasts In News

אחד ביום
N12
בזמן שעבדתם
mako מאקו
מפלגת המחשבות
Beit Avi Chai
הכותרת
ynet
עוד יום Another Day Podcast
כאן | Kan
המנגנון - The Mechanism
כאן | Kan

You Might Also Like

The Times of Israel Daily Briefing
The Times of Israel
Israel Policy Pod
Israel Policy Forum
For Heaven's Sake
Shalom Hartman Institute
Call Me Back - with Dan Senor
Unlocked FM
Haaretz Podcast
Haaretz
Israel: State of a Nation
State of a Nation Podcast