Diplomacy: Memorializing Shlomo Argov

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Diplomacy: Memorializing Shlomo Argov

want a state here that's in a perpetual conflict with large numbers of people forever and ever. [Yitzhak] Rabin saw

that, [Ariel] Sharon saw that. Everybody sees that. On the other hand, certain security matters should not be

compromised. There is no strategic depth here. The notion of strategic depth is pass in an age of ballistic missiles.

Also, we have some natural allies in the Arab world: the Saudis, the Gulf states.

You think those Arab states are ready for relations with Israel?

It's a bizarre Kabuki theater: Everything is orchestrated in strange ways, and people go through unusual dances.

But everybody knows what the outcome is going to be. This is a volatile region, and there is a certain virulent strain

of nihilistic, quasi-fascist religious extremism that's endangering them as much as it endangers us. That's their

reality, that's our reality.

Is that what these fellows are going to be telling the world?

I don't want to mix my views with the program. There's no political ax to grind here. The [program participants] will

be taught how to peel the layers of the onion in a way that tells a story that is true, compelling and believable. It's our

story. And it's a good story, not a bad one. It's basically about redemption, renewal, life and compromise. That's

been obscured by a lot of hatred and a lot of years.

Describe the Argov Fellows program.

The students are chosen the year before, and the program is their third year of studies. It includes a special

academic program with a full curriculum of Jewish and Israeli history, Israeli diplomacy, Israel-Diaspora relations,

US-Israeli relations. We have ambassadors who come in as guest lecturers. Ambassador Avi Primor teaches a

class. Dr. Michael Oren taught a class on US-Israeli relations. The group also travels. They were in Oslo three

weeks ago. They're going to the US in the spring. Next year we're talking about taking them to Asia as well. Today,

not to go to Asia is just crazy. The idea is not to turn them into instant diplomats, but to give them enough of a tool kit

so they can develop in that direction, so they can be sophisticated spokespeople who base themselves on data and

information, and not on speculation or things they are force-fed. They should be able to argue forcefully and in a

highly intelligent manner about the raison d'etre of the State of Israel. These are really smart kids. And they've been

around. They speak multiple languages. And they can put themselves in other people's shoes.

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