Difference between revisions of "Herzliya Conference"

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* Matthew Duss [http://www.thenation.com/article/158547/letter-herzliya-neocon-woodstock# Letter From Herzliya, Neocon Woodstock] The annual gathering of Israeli and American policy elites was supposed to focus on Iran. Then the Egyptian revolution scrambled Israeli conservatives’ worldview. ''The Nation'', February 14, 2011.
* Matthew Duss [http://www.thenation.com/article/158547/letter-herzliya-neocon-woodstock# Letter From Herzliya, Neocon Woodstock] The annual gathering of Israeli and American policy elites was supposed to focus on Iran. Then the Egyptian revolution scrambled Israeli conservatives’ worldview. ''The Nation'', February 14, 2011.
* Shmuel Rosner [http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/notes_from_the_herzliya_conference Notes from the Herzliya Conference]  ''Jewish Journal'', March 13, 2013 | 7:33 am

Latest revision as of 09:04, 31 January 2014

The Herzliya Conference is an annual policy conference held in Herzliya Israel hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.


In 2009 the Herzliya Conference was described in an article in the neoconservative Middle East Quarterly as 'arguably the most influential think tank event in Israel'. [1] The article quoted Benjamin Balint, a fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute as saying in 2009: "the Herzliya Conference does have a large effect: It draws political officials and visitors. They had Mitt Romney this year, everyone from Natan Sharansky to Uzi Ayalon. That does have an effect in terms of shaping strategic studies. People fight over slots at Herzliya." It quoted Nir Boms, vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East as saying: "Herzliya in many ways put themselves on the map. They work an entire year for one conference. It's no coincidence that Sharon eventually gave his speech about disengagement [from Gaza] at the conference." [2]

The Conferences

First Herzliya Conference

In December 2000, the Interdisciplinary Center hosted the First Herzliya Conference.[3]

Uzi Arad said of the conference, which he chaired, that "If you weren't there, it showed you weren't in the major league." An abstract of the conference, entitled The Balance of National Strength and Security in Israel: Policy Directions was published in March 2001 and presented to Israeli President Moshe Katzav. Ha'aretz described the document as "quite astounding":

The core of Israel's political and defense establishment has come out with a document that corresponds, in some of its recommendations and in general tone, with the views of the far right. This is mainly true with respect to the importance attached to the demographic threat to Jewish Israel posed by the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.[4]

Journalist Jonathan Cook argued similarly that the conference represented a sea-change in Israeli politics:

All the Palestinians between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan were lumped together and reclassified in demographic terms — as an ethnic enemy poised to achieve numerical dominance.[5]

Second Herzliya Conference

At the Second Herzliya Conference, Israel in Battle and in the International Arena in December 2001,[6] Arad spoke over a video link with US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. Asked whether it was time for a formal US-Israeli strategic alliance, Rice agreed that there was scope for co-operation on counter-proliferation and missile defence. On Iraq, Rice stated: "Iraq is on our radar screen, its on the presidents radar screen, but there are certainly no recommendations to him at this point as to what to do about Iraq."[7]

Third Herzliya Conference

Ahead of Third Herzliya Conference in 2002, Arad released a study arguing that Israel was losing its military edge over the Arab world.[8]Prominent participants included William Kristol, Martin Indyk and Judith Miller.[9] Vermont governor Howard Dean also attended as part of an AIPAC-sponsored visit to Israel.[10]

Fourth Herzliya Conference

The Fourth Herzliya Conference (16-18 December 2003) was opened by Uzi Arad and addressed by Prime minister Ariel Sharon,[11] who used the occasion to announce his unilateral disengagement plan.[12] Then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the conference; "If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens."[13] Among the mainly Israeli speakers were: Reuven Erlich and Reuven Paz.[14]

Fifth Herzliya Conference

Arad was chair and director of the Fifth Herzliya Conference ('The Balance of Israel’s National Security') in December 2004. Among those who addressed the conference were Ariel Sharon, President Moshe Katsav, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky, Labour Party leader Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon. Foreign speakers included Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the Union pour le Mouvement Populaire in France; Peter Ricketts, the UK's permanent representative to NATO; Marc Otte, the EU's special representative to the Mideast peace process; and Prof. Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission.[15]

Sixth Herzliya conference

The Sixth Herzliya Conference on The Balance of Israel’s National Security was held from January 21-24, 2006.[16] In his keynote speech, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert elaborated on the disengagement strategy announced by Ariel Sharon two years earlier:

In order to ensure the existence of a Jewish national homeland, we will not be able to continue ruling over the territories in which the majority of the Palestinian population lives. We must create a clear boundary as soon as possible, one which will reflect the demographic reality on the ground. Israel will maintain control over the security zones, the Jewish settlement blocs, and those places which have supreme national importance to the Jewish people, first and foremost a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. There can be no Jewish state without the capital of Jerusalem at its center.[17]

Seventh Herzliya Conference

The Seventh Herzliya Conference opened with John Lennon's song Imagine being played to the audience. According to the Jerusalem Post, 'The audience loved it. Some joined in singing quietly others hummed. If some had forgotten the lyrics most recalled the tune and the message. Thunderous applause was followed by silence.' [18] The song was followed by presentations by Wesley Clark the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Avi Dichter Minister of Internal Security, Shabtai Shavit a Former Head of the Mossad, Boaz Ganor the founder of the Institute of Counter-Terrorism and Uriel Reichman Founder and President of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. [19]

The conference criticised by Ha'aretz for it's hawkish stance on Israel's security situation. "At the least, one can say Arad is part of the Israeli political discourse's right wing," correspondent Uzi Benziman said.

The Herzliya Conference - this year at least - is not, therefore, an impartial academic summit. It is an event with a clear ideological agenda.
The subject of this year's conference is the balance of power and national security, and words like "patriotism," "national strength," "renewal" and "strengthening" appear time after time in the titles of the sessions. A significant portion of the speakers (at least on political-security matters) are known right-wingers like Richard Perle, James Woolsey, Dore Gold, Zalman Shoval and researchers from the Shalem Center.[20]

Eighth Herzliya Conference

The Eighth Herzliya Conference 'On the Balance of Israel's National Security', took place in January 2008 with the opening ceremonies being held at the Knesset in Jerusalem. The conference was run by IDC Herzliya, the Lauder School of Government Diplomacy and Strategy and the Institute for Policy and Strategy and was held in cooperation with the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies (which is part of the Shalem Centre). Cooperation and staff were also provided by the Zionist Council of Israel[21].

The event covered strategies and policy recommendations 'across the five principal components of Israel’s national security – defense and foreign policy; economics; education and society; governance; and Jewish Peoplehood policy', with the aims of achieving 'a qualitative leap in all the dimensions of its national policy'. This included the possible use of military force against Iran, as well as discussions on energy security, partiotism, governance, Islam and education, to name a few.

The events participants are too numerous to mention, spanning many pages of the report. Dov Lautman was in attendance along with Gideon Siterman. Lautman and Siterman share a connection through their involvement with the Israel-Britain Business Council (IBBC), where they took part in a meeting prior to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Conference in 2005. Heading the delegation from the IBBC at the Prime Minister’s Conference was Trevor Chinn[22][23]. Trevor Chinn's son David Chinn was present at the Herzliya conference. David Chinn is Partner with McKinsey & Co. Israel[24][25].

Ninth Herzliya Conference

The Ninth Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel’s National Security (February 2-4, 2009).[26] speakers included: Prof. Uzi Arad Founding Director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy, IDC Herzliya;President José María Aznar Former Prime Minister of Spain. President of FAES (Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis); Lt. Gen. (res.) Ehud Barak Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister; Rafael L. Bardaji Director of International Policy at FAES Fundacion, Madrid; Amb. John Bolton Former US Ambassador to the United Nations. Presently a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Michael D. Brown Former US Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R); Dr. Stephen J. Canner Vice President of Investment and Financial Services at the US Council for International Business; Dr. John Chipman Director General and Chief Executive of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London and is its former Director of Studies; Sir Ronald Cohen Chairman of Portland Capital and Portland Trust; Dr. Liam Fox Member of the UK Parliament; Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead Director of the Politico-Military Bureau at the Ministry of Defense. Previously served as Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Head of the Military Intelligence Research Department, and as the IDF Spokesperson; Amb. Dr. Dore Gold President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; Richard Gordon President of the American Jewish Congress; Maj. Gen. (res.) Amb. David Ivry President of Boeing Israel and Boeing’s Vice President of International Relations; Dr. Josef Joffe Editor-Publisher of Die Zeit German weekly and Visiting Professor at Stanford's Hoover Institute; Dr. Ariel (Eli) Levite is Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Tzipi Livni Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Sverre Lodgaard Senior Research Fellow of Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo and its former Director; Prof. Herbert London President of the Hudson Institute and Professor Emeritus at New York University; Amb. Alfred H. Moses Chairman of UN Watch and partner and chief attorney in the Civington & Burling Law Firm; MK Benjamin Netanyahu Opposition leader and former Prime Minister; Mr. Michael Oxley is Vice Chairman of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. Formerly served for 25 years as US Representative of Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District; Sir Michael Pakenham Former UK Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Intelligence Coordinator, and Cabinet Secretary for Defence and Overseas Affairs; Jonathan S. Paris Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute; Shimon Peres President of the State of Israel. Former Prime Minister; Dr. Jamie Patrick Shea is Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of NATO for Strategic Planning and Lecturer at Collège d’Europe; R. James Woolsey Venture Partner with VantagePoint. Former US Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;Dr. David Wurmser Director of Delphi Global Analysis and until recently served as the Senior Advisor on National Security Affairs at the Office of the Vice President, Dick Cheney; Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon Senior Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center. Former Chief of IDF General Staff; Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom CEO and General Director of GSG ltd. Previously served as the Head of the Mossad.[27]

Tenth Herzliya Conference

The Tenth Annual Herzliya Conference was held at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel on 31 January - 3 February 2010.[28]

Eleventh Annual Herzliya Conference

Twelfth Herzliya Conference

The Twelfth Herzliya Conference took place from 30 January to 2 February 2012 at the campus of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in Israel.[30]

Thirteenth Herzliya conference

Herzliya 2013 took place on 11-14 March 2013.[31] The delay from the usual January date was a result of the Israeli general election.[32]



Principal Sponsors

The 2008 Herzliya Conference's principal sponsors were[33]....


Cooperating organizations'

The events Media Consultants were Arad Communications


Past conferences have taken place either at the campus of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya or at the Daniel Hotel, Herzliya.[34] The latter venue is owned by Poju Zabludowicz's Tamares Group.[35]



  1. Hannah Elka Meyers, 'Does Israel Need Think Tanks?', Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009, pp. 37-46
  2. Hannah Elka Meyers, 'Does Israel Need Think Tanks?', Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009, pp. 37-46
  3. The First Conference - 2000, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 9 February 2008.
  4. A VERY MOVING SCENARIO, Ha'aretz, 23 March 2001.
  5. Jonathan Cook, Herzliya Conference reveals Israeli plans after disengagement, Electronic Intifada, 27 January 2006.
  6. Institute for Policy and Strategy, The 2nd Herzliya Conference - 2001, accessed 1 September 2010
  7. Rice sees closer cooperation with Israel, by Joshua Brilliant, United Press International, 17 December 2001.
  8. Beset Jewish state is losing edge over Arab world, report warns, Washington Times, 2 December 2002.
  9. The Third Conference - 2002, Herzliyaconference.org, accessed 10 February 2002.
  10. Vermont governor meets with Israeli prime minister, by Christopher Graff, Associated Press State and Local Newswire, 3 December 2002.
  11. Institute for Policy and Strategy Themes of the Fourth Herzliya Conference, accessed 1 September 2010
  12. Address by PM Ariel Sharon at the Fourth Herzliya Conference - Dec 18- 2003, israel Foreign Ministry, 18 December 2003.
  13. Gideon Alon and Aluf Benn, Netanyahu: Israel's Arabs are the real demographic threat, Haaretz, 18 December 2003.
  14. Institute for Policy and Strategy Speakers, Accessed 1 September 2010
  15. Four very intense days Herzliya Conference, by Mordechai Ben-Dat, Canadian Jewish News, 6 January 2005.
  16. Institute for Policy and Strategy The Sixth Herzliya Conference on The Balance of Israel’s National Security January 21-24, 2006, Accessed 1 September 2010
  17. Address by Acting PM Ehud Olmert to the 6th Herzliya Conference, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24 January 2006.
  18. David E. Kaplan, 'Confronting the terror threat', Jerusalem Post, 28 September 2007
  19. David E. Kaplan, 'Confronting the terror threat', Jerusalem Post, 28 September 2007
  20. Uzi Benziman, Herzliya's tidings of Job, Haaretz, 25 January 2007.
  21. The Annual Herzliya Conference Series: on the Balance of Israel's National Security (2008) Conference Conclusions. Accessed 12th August 2008
  22. BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. 'New head of Israel-Britain Business Council comments ahead of meeting'. 8th November 2005
  23. World Trade Center Israel Ltd. Newsletter Issue No.77. Spring 2006. Accessed 22nd July 2008
  24. The Annual Herzliya Conference Series: on the Balance of Israel's National Security (2008) Conference Conclusions. Accessed 12th August 2008
  25. Krieger, C. (2008) 'Sir Trevor’s big plans to transform London'. The Jewish Chronicle. 4th July 2008
  26. Institute for Policy and Strategy Ninth Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel’s National Security: Executive Summary February 2-4, 2009, Accessed 1 September 2010
  27. Institute for Policy and Strategy Speakers, Accessed 1 September 2010
  28. The 10th Annual Herzliya Conference, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 25 February 20201.
  29. Herzliya2011 Preliminary Programme, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 14 October 2011.
  30. The Twelfth Annual Herzliya Conference, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 1 June 2012.
  31. SETTING NEW NATIONAL AND REGIONAL AGENDAS: preliminary program, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 24 February 2013.
  32. Greer Fay Cashman, The Best Laid Plans..., Jerusalem Post, 2 November 2012.
  33. The Annual Herzliya Conference Series: on the Balance of Israel's National Security (2008) Conference Conclusions. Accessed 12th August 2008
  34. Previous Conferences, herzliyaconference.org, accessed 25 February 2013.
  35. Tamares Hotels Management, Tamares Hotels, accessed 25 February 2013.