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 Dozens of Israeli, Palestinian and international 11th graders at the Eastern Mediterranean International School in Kfar Hayarok yesterday (Jan 14) completed ‘marathon peace talk simulations’. The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks simulation was hosted by the Leon Charney Resolution Center, founded by Tzili Charney in memory of her late husband, and facilitated by Dr. Sapir Handelman, winner of the Peter Baker award for peace and conflict studies, who leads Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress assemblies in the USA, as well as in Israel and the PA.

The peace negotiation simulations, in which the students represent the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, featured two separate tracks – with one track establishing negotiations and the other working behind the scenes. 


The Leon Charney Resolution Center, which opened in September 2015, is dedicated to the history and future of negotiations, peace and learning. The late Leon Charney (1938-2016), a prominent lawyer, author, broadcaster and former advisor to, among others, President Jimmy Carter, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Ezer Weizman, played an important role in the Camp David Peace Accords, which led to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Charney, who dedicated a major part of his life to back-channel diplomacy, understood that the road to peace and stability required peacemaking activities in multiple dimensions. Together with his wife, Tzili, Charney established the center in order to encourage, develop, and initiate peacemaking activities that can create the foundation for a better world.


Dr. Sapir Handelman, who will be facilitating the negotiations and teaches at Tel-Aviv University, is a former Lentz Fellow in Peace and Conflict Resolution Research at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Wayne State University, where he was a visiting professor at the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. He developed and leads the Minds of Peace Experiment – an Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress – in major universities throughout the US, Canada, and in Israel and the Palestinian territories.



The mission of EMIS is to make education a force for peace and sustainability in the Middle East., while fostering intercultural understanding and promoting personal and social leadership. The students, who come from all over the world to live and study together, can choose between two international study programs - either the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program or the three-year Cambridge IGCSE, AS and A level programs.

Photo credit Guy Yechiely




The Israel Ministry of Defense Reveals a Breakthrough in Laser Technology 

The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), at the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals that a technological breakthrough has been achieved in the development of lasers for the interception of RAM threats, UAVs, and ATGMs


Head of the Directorate of Research and Development in the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem: “We are entering a new age of energy warfare in the air, land and sea. The R&D investments made by the DDR&D in the last years have placed the State of Israel among the leading countries in the field of high-energy laser systems. Throughout the year 2020 we will conduct a demo of our capabilities.” 



Today (08.01.2020), the DDR&D in the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals its investment in laser technology, which has led to the technological breakthrough that will enable the development of platforms to intercept a variety of threats. Based on high-energy lasers, this technology will prompt a strategic change in the defense capabilities of the State of Israel. 


As a result of the aforementioned technological breakthrough, the DDR&D has launched three programs for the development of high-energy laser demo systems in cooperation with defense industries, Rafael and Elbit Systems:


  • Development of a demo ground-based laser system to complement the capabilities of the Iron Dome (an additional layer to the air defense array)
  • Development of a maneuver platform-mounted laser system to defend troops in the field 
  • Development of a laser demo system mounted on an air platform to intercept threats above cloud covers and for the defense of wide areas 



Advantages of interception via high-energy lasers:


  • Continuous use at a low cost 
  • Higher effectiveness as a result of the use of two different and complementary technologies - kinetic air defense (via systems such as the Iron Dome), and laser platforms
  • Efficient management and decrease in the number of interceptors used 
  • Potential to intercept a variety of threats such as UAVs, drones and guided rockets in the future


Over the years, the DDR&D has invested considerable efforts in advancing powerful laser technology. Many developments, both from Israel and abroad, have been tested and proven to be ineffective. Significant achievements have recently been made as a result of the collaboration between the DDR&D, defense industries (Rafael and Elbit Systems) and academic institutions. These achievements were made possible by the development of electric source laser systems, in replacement of chemical laser technology.



The technological breakthrough is based on the precision of the laser beam. Using the new technology, the defense establishment has succeeded in precisely focusing the beam on long-range targets, including overcoming atmospheric disturbances. This technology enables the development of highly effective operational systems that will serve as an additional layer of defense to secure the State of Israel by air, land and sea.


Head of the RD Directorate Brig Gen Yaniv Rotem.

Photos Israel Ministry of Defense



For the First Time: The Israel Ministry of Defense and Montenegro Ministry of Defense Sign a GTG Agreement
Yesterday, (December 15th, 2019), the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense (SIBAT), has signed a historic, first agreement with the Montenegro Ministry of Defense. The government-to-government agreement awards Elbit Systems a contract valued at approximately $35 million, for the acquisition of Remote Control Weapon Stations (RCWS), which will be integrated into U.S. manufactured (OSHKOSH), state of the art, joint light tactical vehicles (JLTVs).
The agreement was signed during a festive ceremony at the IMoD HQ in Tel Aviv, Israel, in honor of the Motenegrin Delegation led by the Minister of Defense, Pedrag Boskovic. The event was held in the presence of IMoD General Director, Maj. Gen. (Res.), Udi Adam, Director of SIBAT, Brig. Gen. (Ret.), Yair Kulas, and Head of the Finance Department, Mr. Victor Weiss. 
The agreement stipulates the procurement of advanced RCWS, and spare parts, and includes the transfer of Israeli expertise and know-how via training and guidance with our partners in the Montenegrin armed forces and Ministry of Defense. The Elbit Systems 12.7mm RCWS, is a lightweight, low silhouette, dual axis and stabilized mechanism, mounted externally on armored vehicles. The RCWS offers accurate firing on-the-move and is operated via handles and Smart Displays by the gunner from within the vehicle, ensuring the security of the vehicles’ crew.
Director of SIBAT, Brig. Gen. (Ret.), Yair Kulas: “This first, GTG agreement is welcomed and applauded by all of us at the Ministry of Defense, as a stepping stone to expanding and deepening our cooperation with the state of Montenegro, a strategic NATO ally and a friend to the State of Israel. This agreement reflects the value of Israeli defense innovation in addressing issues that our strategic partners and allies may face. It also reflects the excellent and ever-expanding relations that the Ministry of Defense and the State of Israel have with our Montenegrin partners on all levels. We look forward to furthering the cooperation and exchange of know-how with our fellow Mediterranean state, and to hosting our Montenegrin friends in Israel on additional celebratory occasions.”
Montenegrin Minister of Defense, Mr. Pedrag Boskovic: "After detailed market research and in accordance with the required technical characteristics of the remote control weapon, the Ministry of Defense of Montenegro selected the Israeli company 'Elbit Systems’. The experience and technological improvement of Israel in the field of Defense Industry make the country a credible partner for establishing an appropriate cooperation in this area. "
General Manager of Elbit Systems Land & C4I Division, Mr. Udi Vered: “We are very proud to introduce our 12.7mm RCWS to Montenegro’s Armed Forces’ on their 4X4 JLTV. This recent award further expands our NATO customer base of RCWS operators and strengthens our growing cooperation with Oshkosh. We are witnessing a growing demand for our RCWS, of which many hundreds are already operational onboard a range of land and naval platforms worldwide, and we trust that further customers will follow in acquiring our advanced and mature weapon stations”.
1. (Right to left) Secretary of Defense, Udi Adam and Montenegro's Minister of Defense, Fredragag Boskovich. Credit: Ariel Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

2. (Right to left) Chief of Civet Yair Coles, Director General of the Ministry of Defense Udi Adam, Minister of Defense of Montenegro and Head of Montenegro Procurement Credit: Ariel Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

3. Imaging of shooting positions. Credit: Elbit Systems  



On Tuesday, December 17th, 2019, Ms. Dyana Cordero, Director of the Costa Rican Export Promotion Agency (PROCOMER) in Israel, organized a cocktail in order to invite Israeli businesspeople to attend the event called Costa Rica Services Summit, which will take place on February 2020 at the Costa Rican Covention Center.
The event had the presence of the Ambassador of Costa Rica in Israel, Mr. Marco Vinicio Vargas Pereira, the Minister Counselor and Consul General of Costa Rica, Mr. Javier Rojas Víquez, the Honorary Consul of Costa Rica in Haifa, Mr. Natan Allalouf and representatives of Israeli universities and companies from different sectors, such us energy, real estate, autonomous mobility, cyber security and film industry, among others. 
During the event, Ms. Cordero talked about the more conspicuous characteristics of the country, such as its political stability and democratic tradition, its zeal regarding the protection of the natural environment and its culture of peace as a country without an army. Besides, she presented what Costa Rica has to offer in the field of services, highlighted the advantages that Costa Rica offers as a destination for foreign investment and invited the audience to attend the Costa Rica Services Summit. Israeli entrepreneurs narrated their own experiences doing business in Costa Rica and both parties vowed to continue strengthening the commercial bonds between both nations.  
Photo Silvia Golan



Nine students from schools around Israel participated in the second Debate for Peace delegation to Oxford Global MUN. In addition to the conference, the delegates had numerous meetings and briefings in London, as well as celebrating Juma’a and Shabbat together.

The delegation began on November 14th with a visit to the Treasures collection of the British Library, where ancient religious texts, Shakespeare, and the Magna Carta are all on display. The students then went to Bentham House, where they had an engaging discussion on public international law, and the laws of war, with Professor Kimberley Trapp. The delegation then met with several Middle East experts at Chatham House for a discussion about peacebuilding, and the “Israel and Palestine: Beyond the Stalemate” project. Afterwards there was a two hour workshop at Europe House, which focused on Brexit. There the delegation also met with youth from different countries through the Asfar organization. Finally, the day concluded with a briefing at the Behavioral Insights Team, where the students learned about behavioral economics, and its impact on policy-making.



On Friday the delegation was photographed Fran Monks as part of the Hug Project. Then the delegation joined the Muslim Educational Center of Oxford for Juma’a prayers, where they heard the khutba from Dr Taj Hargey and had a lively discussion on contemporary Islam. That evening the delegation joined the Jewish community at the University of Oxford for shabbat dinner.

From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon the students engaged in their respective committees, representing a range of countries such as Australia, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. At the closing ceremony on Sunday Teba Massalha (UAE) received a Best Position Paper award in OPEC, while Eliran Ben Yair (China) received an Honorable Mention award in CSW.

Back in London the delegation met with peacebuilding experts at Conciliation Resources, and visited the Embassy of Ecuador, where they met Ambassador Jaime Marchan-Romero, and the Embassy of Kosovo, where they met Counselor Imer Berisha. They also visited one of the largest Hindu temples outside of India, and heard a piano concert by Rachel Starritt at the St. Martin in the Fields church. The delegation also received a private tour of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, including a visit to the Agha Khan Centre Gallery, featuring work by contemporary Egyptian artist Bahia Shehab. The delegation was lucky to be guided by curator Esen Kaya, and joined by academic and musician Dr. Vanessa Paloma. Kaya told Diplomacy that she was very interested in “hearing about the students debate programme and the passionate messages they had conveyed in Oxford. They all liked our building, the Islamic gardens and were amused with reading some Arabic text within specific art works and gardens around the building.” She added that it was interesting to see the responses of young leaders to topical contemporary culture as well as traditional religious texts. 

The delegation also found time to visit the National Gallery, the Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum, featuring the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies and other treasures. They finished the delegation by meeting with Jaron Soh to learn about his efforts to help refugees and displaced persons support themselves using traditional handcrafts, contemporary technology, and global economics.

Lareen Habashi from Iksal High School told Diplomacy that this was “a special experience that I did not have before. We discussed different topics concerning the whole world, we met people from different ages, different positions and fields from several countries around the world.” 

Shahaf Navon, from Ben Gurion Comprehensive school in Petah Tiqva, added that the delegation “helped us to personally evolve and not only to get to know the other side but to befriend them, (and the) meetings with different NGO was a wonderful experience.

Maya Qawasmi from Al Qassemi high school in Baqa added “we had an amazing week, visiting different places and meeting with people who gave us so much information about several subjects. We had a fun time in the museums, and finally three incredible days in Oxford conference.”

The upcoming Debate for Peace delegations will be to Yale MUN and Johns Hopkins MUN in the US.

Photo Credit: Fran Monks and Debate for Peace