Israel declared war on Hamas one day after the Palestinian militant group conducted a brutal attack. (Sameh Rahmi / NurPhoto / Getty Images)
October 19, 2023| Community Event | Online

Inside Perspectives on the Current Crisis in Israel

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A conversation with an Israeli local, senior intel officer, and political theorist

Event Overview

War has once again lit up the skies in Israel. As the first sirens rang out across south and central Israel, Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists climbed over barriers, descended from the air, and landed from the sea to launch the most indiscriminate slaughter of Jewish civilians the world has seen since the Holocaust. The world watched as Israelis scrambled to save their neighbors, liberate their settlements, and defend their country. 

What is the historical context of this conflict? Why are so many young people across Europe and the United States showing support for Hamas terrorists? What can we do to show practical support for the people of Israel? Common Sense Society (CSS) staff, faculty, and scholars have been hard at work crafting early public opinion about what the West should do to aid its friend and combat Hamas’s allies. 

On Thursday, October 19, CSS hosted an online community event featuring three individuals with close ties to Israel. Ms. Boglárka Fanni Palkó is a 2012 CSS alumna who lives and works in Tel Aviv in the finance sector. Mr. Ofir Zigelman is a 2023 Caledonia fellow and former senior intelligence officer in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Dr. Yoram Hazony is an award-winning political theorist, CSS senior fellow, and president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem.

The discussion was moderated by Common Sense Society–United Kingdom director Emma Webb, followed by a time of Q&A with questions from CSS members and alumni.

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Featured Speakers

A photo of Boglárka Fanni Palkó

Boglárka Fanni Palkó

Ms. Boglárka Fanni Palko is the director of reconciliation at the Israeli-founded fintech unicorn Melio. She previously worked at Freightos (NYSE:$CRGO) in Jerusalem as the director of financial operations where she managed teams both in Jerusalem, Israel and Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority. Before moving into the hi-tech startup world, Fanni worked at Citibank International as the senior accounting business analyst for the Middle East and North Africa region, and at IBM Global Financing as a mainline portfolio manager for the DACH region. She started her career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary where she interned at the Department for the Americas, and later served as a desk officer in the Minister’s Cabinet. She was a Menachem Begin Heritage Fellow in the Ministry of Public Security of Israel in 2013-2014. Fanni graduated with a B.A. in international public administration and law from Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Hungary, and an M.A. in economics from the University of Hamburg in Germany.

A photo of Ofir Zigelman

Ofir Zigelman

Mr. Ofir Zigelman is senior manager of product management, expansion strategy at Amazon Web Services (A.W.S.). Prior to A.W.S., he served as senior intelligence officer in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and team commander in Unit 8200, an elite Israeli intelligence technology unit. He also served as a research fellow at Harvard, and holds a law degree from Tel Aviv University, an M.B.A. from Wharton, an M.P.A. from Harvard, and an M.A. in international relations from Cambridge. 

A photo of Yoram Hazony, Ph.D.

Yoram Hazony, Ph.D.

Dr. Yoram Hazony is an award-winning political theorist, is the chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation in Washington, and the president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem. His previous book, The Virtue of Nationalism, was named Conservative Book of the Year for 2019 by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and has been translated into half a dozen languages. He appears frequently in the U.S. media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fox News, CNN, NPR, Time, The New Republic, The Ben Shapiro Show, and the Rubin Report. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Rutgers.

A photo of Emma Webb

Emma Webb

Ms. Emma Webb is the director of Common Sense Society–United Kingdom. She was most recently deputy research director at the Free Speech Union, a membership organization fighting to protect freedom of expression in the U.K. In 2020, she co-founded the heritage campaign group Save Our Statues. Prior to that, she was director of the forum on integration, democracy, and extremism at the Westminster think tank Civitas, and a research fellow at the foreign policy think tank, The Henry Jackson Society. She is a regular contributor to GB News and TalkTV, and has appeared on flagship BBC political programming The Big Questions, Politics Live, and Channel 5. She has written for a number of publications including The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times, and hosts a weekly political show for the Westminster-based New Culture Forum podcast. She is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and King’s College London.


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