NIF Australia Podcast

New Israel Fund (NIF) Australia

Bringing you interviews, stories and events with some of Israel and Diaspora Jewry's most influential and impactful voices. NIF is dedicated to a vision of Israel as both the Jewish homeland and a democracy for all its citizens. We promote freedom, equality and social justice in Israel by funding Israeli non-profits and fostering new discussions in the Australian Jewish community.

All Episodes

This is the audio version of an event we ran on Tuesday 23 November. You can watch it in full on YouTube. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that antisemitism remains a real threat to Jews around the world. Yet, the push to codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in law and policy – a move recently embraced by the Morrison government – has been opposed by leading Jewish American organisations and others who fear it has been weaponised to silence criticism of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Join the definition’s lead drafter Kenneth Stern, former director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation Mark Baker, and student activist at the University of Sydney Nell Cohen for a discussion on the definition’s origins, how it is playing out in governments and on universities and how we can best commit to opposing antisemitism today. The conversation will be facilitated by Jo Kalowski. Read more about this issue at https://www.nif.org.au/ihra_resources

Nov 23

1 hr 5 min

Watch this on YouTube Join our discussion with two leaders from NIF's global board – Naomi Chazan, former deputy speaker of the Knesset, and Reem Younis, co-founder of Nazareth-based Alpha Omega and hi-tech entrepreneur – on the future of Jewish-Arab shared society in Israel after the inter-communal violence earlier this year. This clip is part of NIF's celebration of 10 years event. Watch the full video on YouTube.

Nov 5

22 min 33 sec

Watch this on YouTube Join Labor's shadow foreign affairs minister Senator the Hon. Penny Wong for a discussion on challenges facing liberal democracies, human rights and the situation in Israel-Palestine. This clip is part of NIF's celebration of 10 years event. Watch the full video on YouTube.

Nov 5

11 min 14 sec

This is an audio version of an event we hosted on 12 October 2021. You can watch the event in full on our YouTube channel. How do journalists share complex issues, particularly when they are writing for an audience which is on the other side of the world? Join our discussion with John Lyons, the author of a new book, Dateline Jerusalem which looks at how Israel is covered by the Australian media and a former Middle East Correspondent for the Australian, Anshel Pfeffer senior correspondent and columnist for Haaretz and the Israeli correspondent for the Economist and Dina Kraft, a Tel Aviv-based journalist for the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, to hear how foreign correspondents work to tell other people’s stories and shape the discourse in their home country.

Oct 12

1 hr 4 min

We apologise that this event is being added to our podcast late (the event was recorded on 18 May 2021). We had some technical issues that took time to resolve, including with the volume of some of our speakers. We appreciate your patience. You may be required to adjust the volume up/down while you listen. Thanks as always. Join two leaders shaping their country's political conversations – Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens, and Tamar Zandberg, Knesset member and former leader of Israel’s Meretz – on how to shift the political goal posts and take decisive action rooted in shared values of equality, democracy and justice. You can watch this event in full on our YouTube channel.

Jul 16

1 hr 4 min

In a time of fake news, rising populism and renewed antisemitism, join two of the world’s leading historians, Sir Simon Schama and Professor Deborah Lipstadt, in conversation with NIF’s global president and UCLA Jewish History Professor David Myers, discuss how our understanding of history shapes our current reality. Navigating how this plays out in a fractured Israel and a divided America, amidst challenges to democracy and an increase in nationalism and racism around the world, the insights of these two preeminent Jewish scholars of our time will be crucial in working out how to heal these wounds and create more just and tolerant societies. You can watch this podcast in its original form, a digital event, on our YouTube channel.

Apr 20

49 min 7 sec

Less than two weeks after President Joe Biden took office NIF Australia hosted seasoned American Middle East negotiator, and NIF board member, Aaron David Miller and former Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova for a discussion about how America’s Middle East policy will shift under the new administration. This podcast is a recording of the event held on Tuesday 2 February 2021. You can watch the event in full on YouTube.

Feb 4

1 hr 2 min

Join us for an inspiring evening filled with beautiful music and conversation. Be uplifted by the wonderful music from Jewish Israeli singer Achinoam Nini (Noa) and Palestinian Israeli singer Mira Awad, and their ongoing efforts to create a more equal and tolerant society for all Israelis and Palestinians. Their collaboration is best known from Eurovision 2009 in Moscow where they sang together in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Hanukkah is a time of bringing more light into the world, so together with these passionate activists, we’ll discuss their drive to promote peace, equality and social justice. Together, we’ll wrap a challenging year with some light and inspiration from these talented artists. This event was recorded live on Thursday 10 December 2020. You can also watch the event on YouTube.

Dec 2020

1 hr 22 min

Democracy and pluralism are under attack around the world. Join New York Times columnist Roger Cohen and academic and former deputy Knesset speaker Naomi Chazan to delve further into this troubling trend in the United States, Israel and all around the world. Joining us a week after the US elections, they’ll discuss the result and its long lasting impact on a divided American society, as well as the ongoing uncertainty in Israel’s political system, and the broader threats facing democracies worldwide, particularly during the Covid pandemic. This is a recording of an NIF digital event from Thursday 12 November. You can watch it in full on YouTube.

Nov 2020

1 hr 7 min

Even at a time when they have greater than ever representation in the halls of power, the challenges facing women in politics remain high. Two veteran political leaders, Tanya Plibersek, Australia’s shadow minister for education and training, and Zehava Galon, president of Zulat and former chairwoman of Israel’s Meretz party, joined award winning journalist Deb Whitmont for a wide-ranging discussion on their experiences as prominent leaders in parliament, the barriers facing women in politics and the role gender plays in the media’s coverage of politicians. This event was streamed live to YouTube on Wednesday 14 October.

Oct 2020

59 min 14 sec

Is America looking at four more years of President Donald Trump or will Democratic candidate Joe Biden win the upcoming elections? Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Thomas Friedman joined us to discuss the Trump presidency and what’s at stake at next month’s US elections. You can watch the video of this event on YouTube.

Oct 2020

1 hr 5 min

As a former prime minister and foreign minister, there are few people with a better understanding of Australia’s role in the world and our history with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than Kevin Rudd. Our event with Kevin Rudd, streamed live on 9 September, covered everything from Israel’s plans for West Bank annexation, the recent UAE deal, Australia's support for the two-state solution, the rise of China and more. You can watch video of this event on YouTube.

Sep 2020

1 hr 4 min

Haaretz Diplomatic Correspondent Noa Landau joined NIF Australia for a discussion on the historic normalisation accord reached between Israel and the UAE. This event was recorded on Thursday 27 August 2020. You can also watch it on our YouTube page.

Aug 2020

55 min 29 sec

Leading British commentator and Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland joined award-winning Australian journalist Debbie Whitmont for a wide ranging conversation covering Europe, Israel and the US. As one of the first and loudest voices to raise the question of antisemitism within the UK Labour party, and as a trenchant critic of Jeremy Corbyn, Freedland is uniquely placed to offer insights into whether the Jewish community is warming to the new Labour leadership and its policies. Freedland, with extensive journalistic experience in the US, Britain and the Middle East, will also speak about the country’s changing role in Europe after Brexit and what this might mean for the government’s policies towards Israel and the Palestinians. This is an audio version of a webinar event hosted on Thursday 2 July 2020.

Jul 2020

56 min 49 sec

With Prime Minister Netanyahu actively advancing plans to annex parts of the West Bank and President Trump pushing his own plan for the Middle East, this event featured former US ambassador to Israel and former US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – not to mention NIF Australia’s co-patron! – Martin Indyk, for his insights on annexation, US-Israel relations and the future of the two-state solution. In this special conversation we heard the ultimate insider’s view on the role US presidents have played in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and look forward towards November’s presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. This event was recorded as part of a New Israel Fund Australia webinar on Tuesday 23 June 2020. You can watch it with video on YouTube.

Jun 2020

58 min 43 sec

One of Israel’s best known authors, AB Yehoshua, joined Dr Mark Baker for an NIF Australia webinar to discuss the Netanyahu-Gantz government’s plans for annexation of the West Bank and efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a recording of our event on Thursday 18 June. You can watch the webinar on YouTube.

Jun 2020

53 min 45 sec

A recording of our event with executive director of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel (PHRI), Ran Goldstein, in which we discuss the impact of Covid-19 in Israel and how this pandemic is impacting the refugees, people seeking asylum and undocumented workers, as well as Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza. You can watch this event on YouTube. Remember to join the NIF Australia for more great events. Photo credit: Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash 90

May 2020

47 min 10 sec

NIF Australia advisory council member Mark Baker joins US professor, author and political commentator Peter Beinart to discuss Donald Trump, the ongoing COVID crisis, the state of democracy in the US, the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, and annexation and democracy in Israel. Join more NIF Australia events at www.nif.org.au/events

May 2020

1 hr 1 min

Labor Knesset Merav Michaeli joined an NIF Australia webinar in the middle of one of the more interesting moments in recent Israeli political history as the leading opposition member seemed poised to join a right-wing government. In addition, Labor leader Amir Peretz, despite promising for more than a year to not join a coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu, was posed to do exactly that. Michaeli was resisting the move, including at a vote of the party's executive on Sunday 26 April. We discussed that issue with her, as well as Netanyahu's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, the recent elections, threats to democracy and more. (Michaeli was in the middle of an important Knesset committee meeting discussing arrangements for the new coalition agreement, so we've jumped past the first few minutes of the event and straight to when she was able to join us.) You can watch this event in full on YouTube.

Apr 2020

42 min 11 sec

Political analyst, pollster and commentator Dr Dahlia Scheindlin joined NIF Australia executive director Liam Getreu to discuss the results of Monday's Israeli election. This is an audio recording of a Facebook live stream.

Mar 2020

1 hr 10 min

This episode is a recording of an event which took place in Sydney on Tuesday 26 November 2019. A former academic, Zandberg was a leader of 2011’s social justice protests in Israel and a member of Tel Aviv’s city council before entering the Knesset for the Meretz party in 2013. She was the party’s leader from 2018-19, including the April 2019 election. She was reelected in September’s election on the Democratic Union ticket. This event took place at an unprecedented time in Israeli political history with two elections occurring back-to-back in 2019, one in April and another in September. Prime Minister Netanyahu had already been indicted for corruption and bribery and both he and opposition leader Benny Gantz had failed to form a coalition, and it looked inevitable that a third election was on its way. Tamar provided an insider’s perspective to one of the most turbulent years in Israeli history, as well as offered her analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing Israelis, including the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, issues of religion and state and how to create a joint Jewish-Arab coalition for democracy. She’s joined in this conversation by journalist Debbie Whitmont.

Dec 2019

1 hr 11 min

In this timely episode of the NIF Australia podcast we’re sharing a conversation with Carmi Gillon, former head of Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet. You may remember Carmi for his appearance, with five other former heads of the Shin Bet, in the 2012 Oscar-nominated film, The Gatekeepers. We recorded this just a couple of days after Israel’s military carried out a targeted assassination against Abu al-Ata, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. After that, hundreds of rockets rained down on Israel, closing schools and sending residents into bomb shelters. Israel further retaliated and a number of Gazans, including combatants and a number of civilians, were killed. In this episode you’ll hear Gillon touch on a number of subjects, including his history in the Shin Bet, his years working with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, the corrosive impact the occupation is having on Israeli society and the dangerous rise of Jewish terror in Israel. He even speaks about why he credits Benjamin Netanyahu with getting him involved with the New Israel Fund!

Nov 2019

44 min 2 sec

For this episode we’re bringing you the recording of a small event we held in Sydney last week with Israeli journalist Elhanan Miller.  Elhanan started his talk with a summary of the election results before pivoting to a wider analysis about Israeli political leadership and whether the conflict with the Palestinians will feature in Israel’s political landscape in years to come. Elhanan is a rabbi and commentator. He was formerly the Arab affairs correspondent for the Times of Israel and is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic and French. He’s a regular contributor to both Tablet Magazine and Plus61J, and is a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, a think tank which receives funding from the New Israel Fund. 

Oct 2019

51 min 5 sec

After Israel's second election in just a few months we're joined by former president of the New Israel Fund and former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Naomi Chazan to process and analyse all the election results. Will Benjamin Netanyahu stay on as prime minister? Does Benny Gantz have a path to the coalition of 61 seats he needs to take the top job? The Joint Arab List will be the third largest party, so if Likud and Blue + White go into a 'unity' government together, will the Joint List's leader, Ayman Odeh, be the country's first Arab opposition leader? So many questions and we do our best to answer as many of them as possible. This was recorded live as part of a livestreamed Q&A with Naomi Chazan on Thursday 19 September. You can watch the video back on YouTube.

Sep 2019

1 hr 1 min

Only 44 days to go until Israelis go to the polls for the second time in just a few months. Here are all the details on who's in the box seat to form government after the 17 September election, including an update on party mergers and results from the latest opinion polls. Want to see the cool graphs that go with this episode? Watch the episode as a video on Facebook or YouTube. Remember to stay tuned to our website for more election updates.

Aug 2019

4 min 42 sec

Former deputy speaker of the Knesset Naomi Chazan joined us live just 12 hours after polls closed for a review of the 2019 Israeli election and helped us look forward and understand the impact on Israeli society. This is a recording of our event with executive director Liam Getreu hosting the event in Sydney and Naomi Chazan joining live from NIF's offices in Jerusalem.

Apr 2019

1 hr 15 min

Our latest podcast episode is a recording of our Tribute to Amos Oz event, recorded on 10 March 2019 at Bondi Pavilion. Michaela Kalowski hosted an evening combining powerful video footage, readings and tributes to explore both the literary and political legacy of Israel’s beloved and eloquent writer. You can watch this event in full on YouTube. The event featured messages from his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen and acclaimed musician Achinoam Nini (NOA), as well as Australian writers, authors and activists. The evening was an opportunity to reflect on Oz’s enormous contributions to the literary world as well as look more closely at his vision for a just future for Israelis and Palestinians. The 79 year old was internationally recognised for his dozens of novels, essays and prose about life in Israel. His work was translated into 45 languages. His memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness”, was turned into a movie by Natalie Portman. He died from cancer in late December. Read more at www.nif.org.au/amosoz

Mar 2019

1 hr 37 min

What are the biggest issues this Israeli election? Bibi, corruption, housing and poverty, and security. Learn more in the fifth episode of our Israeli election preview with Michal Sella from Shatil's Center for Policy Change. (This is a podcast version of the video we published on YouTube, which includes charts of the polls and some other great footage.) Note: this episode was first released on video before the announcement of a pending indictment charge of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Mar 2019

3 min 51 sec

This episode looks at some of the developments in Israel over the last week and also shines a spotlight on representation of women in the Knesset. In the next few days parties have to submit their candidate lists, which means we'll finally get to see which parties will merge and who'll be serving in the next parliament – so stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up to date. (This is a podcast version of the video we published on YouTube, which includes charts of the polls and some other great footage.) More links, commentary and analysis available on our website.

Feb 2019

4 min 26 sec

With less than two months until Israel's elections we bring you another update. In this edition we cover the release of Benjamin Netanyahu's ads featuring President Donald Trump, as well as Benny Gantz's campaign launch speech and ad. We also share an update on the polls (spoiler: Benny Gantz rises, Labor falls, Likud stays the same). (This is a podcast version of the video we published on YouTube, which includes charts of the polls and some other great footage.) You can also read background to all these issues by following the links on our blog.

Feb 2019

3 min 24 sec

In the second episode of our Israeli election preview, we have an update on some of the discussions happening between party leaders, as well as polling on who Israelis prefer as their prime minister. We also give a quick overview of Israel's electoral system and the parties representing Israel's 20% Palestinian minority. (This is a podcast version of the video we published on YouTube, which includes charts of the polls and some other great footage.) You can also read background to all these issues by following the links on our blog.

Jan 2019

4 min 31 sec

Prime Minister Netanyahu has called Israeli elections for 9 April and we're here to give you the the details on everything that's happening in the lead up. (This is a podcast version of the video we published on YouTube, which includes charts of the polls and some other great footage.) You can also read background to all these issues by following the links on our blog.

Jan 2019

4 min 59 sec

A discussion on the "shrinking democratic space" in Australia and Israel, featuring Gillian Triggs, the former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission, and Sharon Abraham-Weiss, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). They discuss the global phenomenon where minorities, civil society groups and democratic institutions are increasingly under threat, and democracies become more illiberal. You can support the work of ACRI by making a donation at www.nif.org.au/donate You can purchase Gillian's book "Speaking Up" where all good books are sold. You can also watch a video of this event on YouTube.

Dec 2018

1 hr 23 min

Noa – also known as Achinoam Nini – is one of Israel’s most acclaimed artists. In 2009 she represented Israel at Eurovision, along with Palestinian-Israeli musician Mira Awad. This was recorded at her NIF event in Sydney last year. It includes some of her stirring music and also provided an opportunity for the audience to talk with her about social justice and human rights issues in Israel. She was on stage performing at the peace rally in Tel Aviv in 1995 just moments before Yitzhak Rabin's assassination and, more recently, sung Hatikva at the "50 Years Out" rally, calling for an end to the occupation on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Noa’s also known for her work promoting peace and equality in the region, and in just one her roles is a member of NIF’s governing board in Israel. You can support NIF's work by making a tax deductible gift at nif.org.au/donate. Other links: Video of Noa and her definition of Zionism Video of Noa and thoughts on criticism of Israel

Nov 2018

1 hr 50 min

For the first episode of our new NIF Australia podcast, we're joined by Julian Burnside AO QC and Tamara Newman from the NIF Australia-supported Hotline for Refugees and Migrants in Israel for an update on the status of people seeking asylum and refugees in both Australia and Israel. You can support the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants–Israel with a tax-deductible donation. Visit nif.org.au/donate and write "Hotline" in the notes field.

Oct 2018

1 hr 6 min