The first speaker to have lectured about Israel in 49 separate U.S. states shared with students part of his personal journey as an active journalist on Wednesday in the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.
Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post, has interviewed several Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and he spoke to UH students at length about his five-hour meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other topics.
“Israelis, more than anyone, want America to dominate the world,” Hoffman said, after environmental science junior Matthew Patton, who is a board member for the Israel on Campus Coalition, asked what role Israelis think U.S. should take in their politics. “When America doesn’t lead, that’s bad for Israel. It leaves the region more unsafe. It’s dangerous, and that means trouble.”
To break the ice, Hoffman, who was called the “most optimistic man in Israel,” began by telling students that, as a college student, he wondered what he wanted to do with his life. Hoffman decided he had to be where he cared about the news: Israel.
Hoffman said he was not sure whether he agreed with Netanyahu’s claim that foreign relations should focus on “T&T,” or terror and technology.
“The world leaders want to know from Israel how it became a technological superpower, how Israeli technology can help their countries, how they can increase trade with Israel, how to benefit more from that relationship and how to fight terror,” Hoffman said.
Economics junior Tatiana Uklist said it was good to hear a third-party perspective from an American who lives in Israel.
Hoffman also spoke about U.S.–Israel relations. He mentioned that in the past, the interregnum, or the interval of time between election and the inauguration of new government leaders, has been difficult for Israel.
Hoffman also revealed students the cost of a year of college tuition in Israel: $2,500.
Patton, the Israel on Campus Coalition board member, agreed that it was interesting to hear the role U.S. should play in Middle Eastern events, and how Hoffman’s viewpoints were different because he has lived on both soils.