100 episodes

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

What Matters Now The Times of Israel

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    • 4.6 • 111 Ratings

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

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: UNRWA's problem isn't the terrorists in its ranks

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: UNRWA's problem isn't the terrorists in its ranks

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    The Israel Defense Forces revealed this week that beneath the Gaza Strip headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the controversial aid organization known commonly as UNRWA, the Hamas terror group hid one of its most significant assets, a subterranean data center.

    As witnessed by ToI military reporter Emanuel Fabian, cables were discovered running from a UNRWA server room to the Hamas data center underground.

    According to ToI senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur, however, Hamas's infiltration of UNRWA should be taken as a given. The great "evil" behind the United Nation's outfit, the only humanitarian aid on the ground, is the fact that it is more of an ideology than an aid organization.

    We hear about UNRWA's origin story and how its mission will only be fulfilled when the State of Israel no longer exists.

    So in this week of proof of UNRWA workers' collaboration with Hamas, 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.

    Image: Senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur and deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan at The Times of Israel's Jerusalem office. (Eli Katoff)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Clashing visions of victory

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Clashing visions of victory

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is “within touching distance of absolute victory,” and that Hamas’s defeat will be the “victory of the entire free world.”

    In a rebuttal to the prime minister, five women released from captivity in Gaza during a weeklong truce in late November stated that "absolute victory" for Israel would only come with the release of the remaining 136 hostages.

    At the same time, Saudi Arabia is hosting a summit of foreign ministers from five countries in the region -- Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, along with a representative from the Palestinian Authority -- to advance a united Arab stance regarding the war in Gaza as well as political initiatives for when the fighting ends. The united front that Israel’s Arab partners and potential allies are building is increasingly at odds with the Israeli government.

    And finally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned Israel that it does not have “a license to dehumanize others,” the harshest criticism from the United States to date.

    So in this week of statements and conflicting stances, 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.

    Image: Times of Israel senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (courtesy)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min
    What Matters Now to author Shlomo Brody: Jewish ethics and the Israel-Hamas War

    What Matters Now to author Shlomo Brody: Jewish ethics and the Israel-Hamas War

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    Israel often prides itself on being the most moral army in the world. Whether you subscribe to that or not, there is a long history of ethical thinking that influences its operations on the ground.

    This week on What Matters Now, we speak with Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody, the author of the new and extremely timely book, “Ethics of Our Fighters: A Jewish View on War and Morality.”

    With rabbinic ordination and a PhD from Bar-Ilan Law School, Brody is the executive director of Ematai, an organization dedicated to helping Jews navigate dilemmas regarding aging, end-of-life treatment, and organ donation. His previous book, "A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates,” was a National Jewish Book Award winner.

    In our wide-ranging conversation, we speak about the history of Jewish military ethics, starting from the Bible, through rabbinical literature and the blossoming of thinking from just before the foundation of the State of Israel and onward.

    The applications of military ethics in the current Israel-Hamas War are unprecedented. We hear about how taking a stance of self-defense may help guide Israel as the conflict continues, and potentially spreads.

    So this week, we ask author Shlomo Brody, what matters now?

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

    IMAGE: Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody (courtesy)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 32 min
    What Matters Now to Yossi Klein Halevi: 5 big questions about the war

    What Matters Now to Yossi Klein Halevi: 5 big questions about the war

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    This week we're bringing excerpts from a Behind the Headlines video interview with author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, conducted exclusively for our Times of Israel Community.

    A senior fellow and the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Klein Halevi is the author of books including, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” and “Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist.”

    Drawing on themes from both of those books, as well as his other work, we asked Klein Halevi to answer five big questions about the war. We touch on topics including, what "Never Again" means to Israelis today and how the Jewish community should relate to the anti-Zionist Jewish youth protesting on university campuses.

    So this week, we ask thinker Yossi Klein Halevi, what matters now.

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

    IMAGE: Author Yossi Klein Halevi (Shalom Hartman Institute)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 57 min
    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What Israelis think about the suffering in Gaza

    What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What Israelis think about the suffering in Gaza

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, over 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation to the bloody invasion by 3,000 terrorists from Gaza who massacred 1,200 -- mostly civilians -- and took over 240 hostages to Gaza. 

    And while it is clear that Hamas began the war, it's also clear that Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are being used as human shields to tactically and cynically generate public outcry against Israel.

    In a difficult and sensitive conversation, ToI's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur delves into Israelis' awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the death toll, and how much this is taken into account by Israelis, who are still overwhelmingly supportive of the stated goal of toppling Hamas. 

    Rettig Gur shares conversations he's had with staunch pro-Israel supporters in the United States and United Kingdom and an interesting idea that came out of them in which Israel could be an active player in ameliorating the suffering of the people of Gaza.

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

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

    IMAGE: Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur. (Courtesy)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 41 min
    What Matters Now to Mishy Harman: 3 'postcards' from wartime Israel

    What Matters Now to Mishy Harman: 3 'postcards' from wartime Israel

    Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

    This week on What Matters Now, we're again handing the mic to Mishy Harman, the co-founder of The Times of Israel’s podcast partner, Israel Story, the premiere narrative English-language podcast from Israel.

    Since the October 7 massacre across southern Israel by Hamas of some 1,200 individuals, mostly civilians, Harman and his team at Israel Story have pivoted from their long-form, carefully nurtured episodes to producing almost daily Wartime Diaries.

    We at The Times of Israel asked the Israel Story team to compile a few episodes and after much deliberation, together we selected three:

    Wartime Diaries: Shira Masami

    More than 200,000 Israelis – from both the South and the North – have been forced to leave their homes since the start of the war. Some have relocated to hotels or kibbutzim, others have opted to move in with family or friends, or else even rent apartments in entirely new surroundings. In today’s episode we get a glimpse of what that reality feels like. Shira Masami is one of nearly 30,000 residents who have left the southern city of Sderot – a city that suffered a horrendous attack on October 7 – and who are now dispersed around the country.

    Wartime Diaries: Charlene Seidle

    Upwards of $1 billion in donations have been sent to Israel since the start of the war.

    For years, Charlene Seidle, the Executive Vice President of the San Diego-based Leichtag Foundation, has been at the forefront of the Jewish philanthropic world.

    While the Leichtag Foundation supports various causes in the States and in Israel, their main local focus is bridging social and economic gaps in Jerusalem. Leichtag has given life to hundreds of grassroots initiatives and has created the ‘Jerusalem Model’ – a diverse network of social entrepreneurs, activists and leaders from all sectors around town – Jews, Muslims, Christians, religious, secular, etc.

    Since Charlene and her team have been nurturing and cultivating these relationships for so long, they were particularly well-situated to understand the needs on the ground in the immediate aftermath of October 7th.

    Wartime Diaries: Omer Ohana

    The war has brought many new people into the limelight: For nearly three months we’ve been hearing countless stories of casualties, hostages, survivors and family members, many of whom have entered our hearts and never left. In some cases we feel like we’ve gotten to know these unsung heroes personally.

    One of the first big stories of the war, in that initial crazy week after October 7, was that of 30-year-old Sagi Golan from Herzliya – a decorated officer in an anti-terrorism unit who was killed in action in Be’eri in the early hours of October 8. His story made headlines because Sagi was supposed to have married his partner, Omer Ohana, two weeks later, and his death brought to the fore – once again – the matter of the army and LGBTQ rights.

    Though the IDF has recognized same-sex partners of fallen soldiers as eligible for full financial and emotional support since the mid-1990s, the matter had never been enshrined in law. So in the weeks after Sagi’s death, Omer led a successful campaign to legally secure the rights of same-sex and common-law partners of fallen soldiers.

    So this week, we ask Mishy Harman, what matters now?

    What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on iTunes, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

    IMAGE: (Clockwise from top right) Shira Masami; Sagi Golan (left) and Omer Ohana; Charlene Seidle (courtesy Israel Story)
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
111 Ratings

111 Ratings

samanthamorgan985 ,

This podcast is my rock.

I am an 23 year old American. I have never needed so much love and support and insight from the Jewish community as I did, and still do, post 10/7 because I never felt vulnerable due to my status as a Jew. This podcast has made me feel so much less alone as it reinforces how the Jewish people are tiny but mighty, how abundantly capable we are of resilience in the face of hatred, and how we are exactly what I always thought we were, as opposed to the horrible things that MANY choose to say that we are. I love this podcast and I’m eternally grateful for, and proud of, Amanda’s work here. 💙

Professor R. Hinkley ,

Wow!

The latest episode, with Amanda interviewing Yossi, is really not to be missed. This podcast always gets at the tough questions in Israeli society and culture. A great listen, keep up the good work!

Zubayr Ahmad ,

Well it’s great learning Israeli propaganda

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