Israeli Presidential Conference Tomorrow 2013

The Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow

was attended by 5000 people this year,

many coming from around the world to Jerusalem, Israel.

This year started with a special 90th birthday celebration

for President Shimon Peres serranaded by Barbra Streisand.

Opening night tickets were harder to get then to the Obama speech.

But the long program was available on-line to watch.

As the motorcades were finally going by after it ended,

and I was already getting into bed, 

I was sure I had had a great seat.

image Tony Blair

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair followed Shimon Peres,

photo President Bill Clinton in Jerusalem

and then former US President Bill Clinton entered the opening plenary.

cell phones as cameras image

Phones and cameras were out to catch 

photo Shimon Peres and Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton get the Israeli President’s special medal and award.

Over two days there were too many speakers and dignitaries to list.

I was disappointed that somehow I kept missing

Prince Albert of Monaco, but maybe I just did not recognize him?

A few of the most popular presenters included:

Dr David Augus image

Dr David Augus from California,

Dan Arielly image

Prof. Dan Arielly,

Image Ayaan Hirsi-Ali

and once again Ayaan Hirsh-Ali.

Image Yair Lapid

New to Israeli politics and this program was MK Yair Lapid. 

image cameras ready for Sharon Stone

But the serious press attendance and cameras came out

photo Sharon Stone

for Hollywood actress Sharon Stone,

photo Shimon Peres and Sharon Stone

Shimon Peres and Sharon Stone.

photo Robert DeNiro

And also from Hollywood Robert DeNiro.

Image Rav David Stav

Rav David Stav got a little attention in the halls.

John Baird image

At least Arutz 7 noticed John Baird, the Foreign Minister from Canada.

photo Manfred Gerstenfeld

 But how many paid attention to Manfred Gerstenfeld?

image Irwin Cotler

At least my friend was also excited to see Canadian Irwin Cotler.

Image Dr Ruth

And as always everyone was excited to be seen with Dr Ruth!

If you do not know all these names, take time to look them up,

 I decided not to link to poor Wiki information.

But what about this conference called Tomorrow,

when most of these names are so yesterday?

photo Tim Armstrong and Yussi VArdi

Tim Armstrong and Yossi Vardi may have come up with a new plan.

But, there were two things that really do stand out for tomorrow.

As at past conferences the Hebrew University exhibit,

image MRI exhibit

   was bigger and better, their brain research simply mind boggling.

But I would like to end with my favorite scene of Facing Tomorrow.

Image young men working on tech projects

These five young men, ages 15 to 19,

are already involved in tech and start-ups.

This time of year the real streets are so busy and full

of end of year graduations, from gan to University,

they are the real tomorrow.

Facing Tomorrow, Part 1

With 7 plenary sessions, 30 panels, with 4 special sessions for bloggers,

even with several clones it would have been impossible to attend

  most of the events of the Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow”.

 However, President Shimon Peres attended many sessions,

as did thousands of others who filled  the halls of the International Convention Center.

In-depth analyses have been written in the press, but most people who were trying

to get to all the end-of-school-year events may not have had the time to read them.

So The Real Jerusalem Streets will offer a quick convention overview.

On the first night,

 Israeli author Amos Oz,  Bernard-Henry Levy of France, and Tony Blair of England

spoke the to an audience where electronic devices were the norm

and political opinions were to the of extremes of right and left.

Laptops were visible in the audience for the morning plenary entitled

‘Looking Towards Tomorrow-Trends, Challenges and Decisions.’

Participants were Abby Joseph-Cohen, Niall Ferguson, Amos Yadlin, and

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who called the new anti-Semitism a virus

that is hard to control and spread by the internet.

 Tzipi Livni concluded the panel which could be heard and seen in the lounge

where drinks and food were on sale and networking was the main event.

A VIP lounge provided free drinks and delicious food,

the lemon meringue pie was said to have been really special.

However, Jerusalem water, unflavored, unchilled, and unaltered 

was all that was provided free for the regular attendees of the convention.

 ‘Thin Ice: Criticism vs. Loyalty in Israel-Diaspora Relations’,

with participants Jeremy Ben-Ami, Daniel Dayan, Diana Pinto, Fania Oz-Salzberger

and Rabbi Eric Yoffe and moderated by Shmuel Rosner, was standing-room only.


Also, ‘My Visions of Jerusalem’ attracted an over flow crowd,

American Malcolm Hoenlein spoke eloquently in English about the right of all Jews

to be concerned and involved with Jerusalem and her future.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat was the last speaker at this session.

 Another session in the same time slot was entitled, 

 ‘Israel and America-Has the Love Cooled?’.

It was moderated by Ethan Bronner and

 included such big names as Itamar Rabinovich, Robert Wexler, Ruth Yaron,

and Americans Elliot Abrams and Martin Indyk as panelists.

 ‘Where is the Global Economy Heading?’ was the evening plenary,

   moderated by Stanley Fisher.

As Larry Summer was speaking, I was heading toward the door–

enough politics and economics for one day. 

 Glad I left early or I would have missed this view on the way home…

from one of the Jerusalem streets.


More photos will be posted on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.