30 episodes

Decision Points is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel's history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel's toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.
 
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 Koret 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 and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

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Decision Points David Makovsky

    • History
    • 4.9 • 58 Ratings

Decision Points is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel's history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel's toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.
 
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 Koret 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 and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Israel’s Dramatic Energy Turnaround

    Israel’s Dramatic Energy Turnaround

    After decades of energy dependence, Israel discovered offshore natural gas reserves that have fundamentally changed its energy dynamics and led it to deepen ties across the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The country is suddenly a net energy exporter to Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians, while Gulf states have shown preliminary indications that they would like to develop such ties as well. Yet these reserves are also a source of tension with regional neighbors Turkey and Lebanon. What are the possibilities and limits of Israeli natural gas, and what is the country’s energy trajectory in the Middle East?
     
    Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with Amit Mor and Ephraim Sneh.
     
    Amit Mor is the CEO of Eco Energy Ltd. Over the past eighteen years, he has served as a consultant to governments, financial organizations, and companies in Israel and abroad in the fields of petroleum, natural gas, power, infrastructure, and the environment.
     
    Ephraim Sneh, a retired Israeli general, served in several cabinets as deputy defense minister and other roles. He currently chairs the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College.
    Audio clip from "PM Netanyahu's Statement at the Trilateral Meeting between Israel, Greece and Cyprus"
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    • 33 min
    Hezbollah and Israel: Between Deterrence and Deterioration

    Hezbollah and Israel: Between Deterrence and Deterioration

    Since the 2006 Lebanon war, Israel and Hezbollah have not engaged in major hostilities. Yet while mutual deterrence has averted all-out war, this uneasy truce is weakening. At home in Lebanon, Hezbollah is facing a dire economic and political crisis. Moreover, the group still seeks to convert some of its estimated 140,000 rockets into precision-guided missiles, a serious threat to Israel. It has also fired antiaircraft weapons at Israel from Syria in support of Iran’s presence there.
     
    Is deterrence unraveling, and is a full-blown conflagration inevitable? To discuss this major decision point, David Makovsky hosts a new episode with Hanin Ghaddar, David Schenker, and Amos Gilead.
     
    Hanin Ghaddar is the Friedmann Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Geduld Program on Arab Politics, where she focuses on Shia politics throughout the Levant. Previously, she worked as the longtime managing editor of the NOW Lebanon news site, where she shed light on Hezbollah’s political evolution and Iran’s growing regional influence.
     
    David Schenker is the Institute’s Taube Senior Fellow. Previously, he served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs through January 2021.
     
    Gen. Amos Gilead dedicated most of his career in the Israel Defense Forces to the Military Intelligence Corps. As chief of the Intelligence Research and Analysis Division, he was responsible for producing the national intelligence assessment and other strategic analysis. Currently, he teaches security and intelligence studies at IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy.
    Audio clips from C-SPAN “Israeli Prime Minister Remarks at U.N. General Assembly”
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    • 40 min
    Putin, Israel, and the Calculated Limits of a Bilateral Relationship

    Putin, Israel, and the Calculated Limits of a Bilateral Relationship

    For decades, Israel and Russia stood on opposite ends of an ideological divide. During the Soviet era, Moscow not only supported Israel’s enemies economically and militarily, but also sought to stamp out any connection between Russian citizens and Israel, refusing millions the right to emigrate. Since the Soviet collapse in 1991, however, relations have turned a corner.
    Where are Russian-Israeli ties headed today? What are Vladimir Putin’s motivations for involvement in the Middle East, and what implications does this activity hold for Israel? Host David Makovsky discusses these and other issues with Anna Borshchevskaya and Daniel Rakov.
    Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia’s policy toward the Middle East. In addition, she is a contributor to Oxford Analytica and a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy.
    Lt. Col. Daniel Rakov, Israel Defense Forces (Ret.), is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, focusing on Russian policy and great power competition in the Middle East.
     Audio clips from Euronews “Netanyahu meets Putin in Moscow” 
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    • 29 min
    Israel's Gray Zone: Iran in Syria

    Israel's Gray Zone: Iran in Syria

    Since 2015, Iranian forces have increasingly entrenched themselves in Syria as part of a broader effort to bolster the rule of Bashar al-Assad. As this effort began to unfold, Israel feared reenacting the cautionary tale of Hezbollah in Lebanon, where indecision over rooting out the Tehran-backed terrorist group proved to be a decision in itself. To avoid a situation in which Iranian or proxy forces are positioned along the entirety of Israel’s northern border, the IDF has been walking a tightrope in Syria, taking direct action against major security threats while trying to avoid a full-scale war. Can this gray zone strategy succeed in pushing Iran out of Syria or not?
    To discuss this regional decision point, David Makovsky hosts distinguished guests James Jeffrey, Assaf Orion, and Oula Alrifai.
    Ambassador Jeffrey served as the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS until November 2020. He currently chairs the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program.
    General Orion is a senior fellow at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies and the Rueven International Fellow with The Washington Institute. Previously, he served as head of the Strategic Division in the IDF General Staff’s Planning Directorate.
    Alrifai, a native of Syria, is a fellow in The Washington Institute’s Program on Arab Politics, author of its recent study “In the Service of Ideology: Iran’s Religious and Socioeconomic Activities in Syria,” and executive producer of the award-winning documentary Tomorrow’s Children.


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    • 40 min
    Israel's Powder Keg: Hamas in Gaza

    Israel's Powder Keg: Hamas in Gaza

    In May, after tensions escalated in Jerusalem, Hamas and Israel broke a two-year ceasefire and were drawn into war. The crisis reminded the world that the ideological differences between the sides are vast. Are Israel and Hamas doomed to face each other every few years? How much of a game-changer was this round of fighting for them, the UN, and key regional players? What are some of the difficult options ahead?
    In this episode, David Makovsky hosts three expert guests on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.
    Nickolay Mladenov served as the UN secretary-general’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process between 2015 and 2020 as well as Bulgaria’s minister of defense and foreign affairs.
    Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, is the Milton Fine International Fellow with The Washington Institute. Over the past decade, he has held senior positions in the office of the minister of defense under Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
    Karim Haggag, a career Egyptian diplomat with over twenty-five years of service, currently works as a professor of practice in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo.

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    • 41 min
    The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Nuclear Program

    The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Nuclear Program

    World attention has focused on the prospects of the United States and Iran finding terms that enable them to return to their 2015 nuclear deal. Yet what does this mean for all the unanswered challenges that President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken say are essential to address in a “longer and stronger” follow-on agreement? How will the United States preserve its leverage for such a second round? What incentives will Iran have to engage in negotiations after a Vienna deal is reached? And what does this mean for Israel and the rest of the Middle East?
     
    For the first episode of the season, host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with three guests who have deep expertise on Iran, the nuclear program, and Israel’s approach to deterring it. Ambassador Dennis Ross, the William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, formerly served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for the Central Region at the National Security Council, among other prominent positions. Ray Takeyh is the Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the recent book The Last Shah: America, Iran, and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty. Ariel (Eli) Levite is a nonresident senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program and Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment; previously, he served as principal deputy director-general for policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007.

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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
58 Ratings

58 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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