Friday, April 16, 2021

(Courtesy of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center) American Friends of Soroka Medical Center (AFSMC) is hosting a new four-part webinar series “Soroka Salon: The Promise of the Negev,” featuring former member of Knesset and Professor Michael Bar-Zohar. With a distinguished and legendary career at the forefront of the founding of the state of Israel, spanning government, history and literature, Prof. Bar-Zohar brings Israeli history to life like no other. Each session will explore a unique Negev theme, including the early days, Ben Gurion’s vision, diversity in the Negev, innovation and medical breakthroughs. Prof. Bar-Zohar will be joined by special guests to help illuminate the story of the Negev.

The first session will take place on Wednesday, March 17, at noon EST and will focus on “The Early Days” of the Negev, from a historical, social and political perspective. Joining this webinar series is free of charge. Advance registration at Soroka.org/Salon.

The first guest will be Ambassador Haim Divon, whose career includes posts as Israel’s ambassador to Canada, to Ethiopia and to the Netherlands with 41 years in the Israeli Foreign Service and whose personal family history is intertwined with the assent of the Negev. Future guests will include Mayor of Be’er Sheva (TBC), Dr. Larry Norton (medical research) and Dr. Shlomi Codish, Soroka CEO.

The Negev is the country’s fastest growing and most diverse region, with over 1.2 million residents, including over 400,000 children, in an area that comprises 60% of Israel’s land. In the words of Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion: “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested.” Prof. Bar-Zohar was a close associate of Ben-Gurion and his biographer. The series will delve into the profound and fascinating history of the Negev, its present and future: Is the Negev Blooming? What are the unique challenges in the region and how would we overcome them? There is so much to learn about the Negev, as it is one of the most strategic regions in the Middle East.

“Soroka Salon” connects like-minded people in an intimate setting, hosting extraordinary speakers. When the pandemic started, board member and committee chair Deborah Cherki was wondering how to continue this special forum when everyone was homebound. Fortunately, technology affords us the opportunity to connect and learn together without leaving our own home! Cherki said, “As we try to stay connected and continue to spread Soroka to a broader audience in these unusual times, I am really excited about our new Soroka Salon lecture series ‘The Promise of the Negev.’ Prof. Bar-Zohar is a fountain of knowledge and I personally cannot wait to learn from him and guests. I am really hopeful that people will find it interesting and will want to join.” With Ms. Cherki’s leadership, Soroka Friends conceived this series, deepening the discussion about the Negev with one of the most authentic experts. RSVP at Soroka.org/Salon.

Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar is an award-winning author, historian, researcher and politician. He was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Israel, studied in Jerusalem and France (Ph.D. in political science) and fought in four Israeli-Arab wars (1956, 1967, 1973, 1982). Prof. Bar-Zohar spent nine years beside David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder and first prime minister. Prof. Bar-Zohar became a fervent supporter of peace between Israel and her neighbors, served two terms in Parliament and was a professor at Haifa University and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He represented Israel at the Council of Europe and wrote more than 30 books and screenplays. Prof. Bar-Zohar won several awards including the French Academy award, the Ben-Gurion award and the International Migration Award and was knighted by the president of France as Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. With a donation to Soroka of $180 or more, you will receive a signed copy of his book “David Ben Gurion’’: www.Soroka.org/Donate.