23 episodes

"Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israeli history. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations from the Balfour Declaration to hi-tech cooperation today. The second season focuses on key Israeli and Arab leaders.
 
The host, David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute's Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.
 
The podcast is both a history lesson, a biography of the key leaders involved, and a look into how these decision points impacted the future of Israel and its relationships with the U.S. and the Arab world.

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Decision Points David Makovsky

    • History
    • 5.0 • 49 Ratings

"Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israeli history. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations from the Balfour Declaration to hi-tech cooperation today. The second season focuses on key Israeli and Arab leaders.
 
The host, David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute's Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.
 
The podcast is both a history lesson, a biography of the key leaders involved, and a look into how these decision points impacted the future of Israel and its relationships with the U.S. and the Arab world.

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    Inside the Normalization Agreements Between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain

    Inside the Normalization Agreements Between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain

    For the final episode of the season, the podcast focuses on a very significant step for Israel: the recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Unlike with past peace partners Egypt and Jordan, Israel never fought either Gulf country on the battlefield. However, converging regional thinking, economic incentives, and shifting discourse about the indigenous roots of the Jewish people mean that these agreements have the potential to reshape the Middle East.
     
    The episode features two guests who know the motivations and behind-the-scenes negotiations that shaped the agreements better than almost anyone else: the Emirati and Bahraini ambassadors to the United States. Yousef al-Otaiba has represented the UAE in that role since 2008 and was promoted to the rank of minister in 2017. Otaiba is credited with being the leading architect of the breakthrough with Israel. H. E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Rashed Al Khalifa has served as Bahrain’s ambassador since 2017 and was previously in charge of the kingdom’s Southern Governorate. This is one of the only joint interviews that they have done together since the breakthrough was announced.

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    • 35 min
    Ariel Sharon’s Road from Settlement Building to Gaza Withdrawal

    Ariel Sharon’s Road from Settlement Building to Gaza Withdrawal

    Israel’s Ariel Sharon gained early renown for his battlefield courage and notoriety for his strident opposition to Palestinian statehood. But Sharon, who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, was not an ideologue. When he saw pragmatic opportunities to advance Israel’s long-term interests, he pursued them, explaining his leading role in the 2005 Gaza disengagement plan. The program entailed the evacuation of some eight thousand Jewish residents in twenty-one settlements in Gaza, in addition to four settlements in the West Bank, causing much dismay among the prime minister’s former acolytes. Yet Sharon made what he considered the right choice, thereby improbably advancing Palestinian claims to statehood. Gaza disengagement would mark an endpoint in Ariel Sharon’s political evolution and endure as one of his most significant legacies.
     
    In this episode of Decision Points, David Makovsky discusses Sharon with two figures intimately engaged in the Gaza disengagement: Stephen Hadley, who served as President George W. Bush’s national security advisor, and Dubi Weissglas, Sharon’s closest policy advisor when he was prime minister and an architect of disengagement.
    Clips Used
    Israeli cabinet approves Gaza withdrawal 14-7


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    • 36 min
    Hafiz al-Assad and the Elusive Quest for Syrian-Israeli Peace

    Hafiz al-Assad and the Elusive Quest for Syrian-Israeli Peace

    For the past decade, Syria has been a killing field on which the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been a ruthless perpetrator. As a result, international players now view the Syrian leader as a pariah. Under the rule of Bashar’s father, Hafiz al-Assad, Syria employed harsh tactics and embodied rejection of Israel, but the former president also responded to regional changes amid the loss of his Soviet patron and the end of the Cold War. Reluctantly, he flirted with an Israeli peace as a means to retrieve the Golan Heights. Now, as other Arab capitals pursue rapprochement with Jerusalem, the question reemerges of how close Assad and his interlocutors came to a deal in the 1990s. 
    In this episode of Decision Points, David Makovsky talks with three individuals closely involved in the Syrian-Israeli peace process: former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel Edward Djerejian; former member of the U.S. peace team and translator for presidents and secretaries of state Gamal Helal; and Institute International Fellow and former member of the Israeli negotiating team on Syria Michael Herzog.
    Clips Used
    Israel/Syria - Christopher Meets Rabin & Assad
    SYRIA: FOREIGN MINISTER FAROUK AL SHARAA INTERVIEW 


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    • 37 min
    A Behind the Scenes Account of King Hussein and Jordanian-Israeli Peace Ties

    A Behind the Scenes Account of King Hussein and Jordanian-Israeli Peace Ties

    When King Hussein ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen, he dedicated his life to building a peaceful and prosperous Jordan. His reign was far from simple, however—he faced multiple wars abroad, a civil war at home, assassination attempts, and diplomatic crises. Throughout this tumultuous period, he maintained one secret connection that would only be made official years later: his relationship with Israel. The peace treaty signed by the two countries has endured for over twenty-five years and has been an important force for stability in the region.
     
    Join David Makovsky for conversations with two guests who knew the king personally: his brother Prince Hassan bin Talal, and Israel’s former Mossad director Efraim Halevy, who was integral to negotiating the bilateral peace. The episode features some never-before-heard revelations about Jordanian-Israeli relations. Washington Institute Director Rob Satloff frames the discussion and provides historical perspective.
    Audio Clips Used
    King Abdullah Assassinated (1951)
    King Hussein of Jordan making a Speech about the Israel/Jordan peace agreement 

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    • 42 min
    The Enduring Debate over Yasser Arafat’s Strategy and Journey

    The Enduring Debate over Yasser Arafat’s Strategy and Journey

    More than anyone else, Yasser Arafat relished the role of embodying the Palestinian national struggle—even his keffiyeh was shaped to resemble historical Palestine. Some depicted him as a defiant freedom fighter, but he would become reviled by many, especially in the United States and Israel, as an arch-terrorist. His sudden appearance on the international stage came as a peacemaker during the Oslo Accords. What led to that moment, and why couldn’t he clinch the deal to create a sovereign Palestinian state, instead returning to violence?
     
    In this episode, David Makovsky hosts Hussein Agha, one of the Palestinian negotiators for the Oslo II agreement and a close advisor to Arafat, and Amos Gilead, former chief of the IDF’s Intelligence Research and Analysis Division. Hussein and Amos have very different opinions regarding the peace process, and this is the first time they have appeared together to discuss Arafat.
    Audio Clips Used
    SYND 7 7 82 ARAFAT INTERVIEWED ON FIGHTING ON BOTH SIDES OF WAR IN LEBANON 
    Signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles

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    • 33 min
    Yitzhak Rabin’s Journey from War Hero to Peacemaker

    Yitzhak Rabin’s Journey from War Hero to Peacemaker

    Yitzhak Rabin was Israel’s first native-born prime minister, and he personified the national ethos throughout his life. At once pragmatic and patriotic, he fought for Israel’s security, survival, and prosperity in both the military and politics. All of his efforts culminated with the Oslo Accords. In this episode, David Makovsky hosts three people who knew Rabin personally: his ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich, his son Yuval Rabin, and Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    Audio Clips Used
    West Bank/Israel - Clashes
    Signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles


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    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
49 Ratings

49 Ratings

mayashlomit ,

Expert insight

I am really looking forward to another season of this podcast.

MaxHM425 ,

Fantastic!

David is a phenomenal speaker and communicates very complex issues in ways that are easy to comprehend. He is upfront about his own preferences and leanings, while also presenting facts-based, straightforward information. Highly recommended!

WestportShelly ,

Bringing history to life

So glad Decision Points with David Makovsky is back! Season 2 promises to be just as exciting and informative as Season 1. Just listened to this season’s first episode with renowned historian Anita Shapira—and what we might easily take for granted, the decision to declare the State, comes to the dramatic life we should remember and respect. These podcasts are compact and moving—subscribe and look forward to them episode by episode!

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