About the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

About the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs was founded in 1976 by Professor Daniel J. Elazar, z"l, as an independent, non-profit institute for policy research and education serving Israel and the Jewish people. Since that time it has produced hundreds of studies by leading experts dealing with a wide range of topics on the world Jewish agenda. The Center's focus in recent years has shifted with changing needs, particularly the need to present Israel's case in the wake of the renewed Palestinian violence since 2000, and to focus on the return of anti-Semitism in the post-Holocaust period.

The Jerusalem Center is engaged in a multi-faceted effort to bring high-quality, insider information to the attention of leading opinion-makers as well as the top leadership of the Jewish world through a broad range of Internet publications: Daily Alert, Jerusalem Viewpoints, Jerusalem Issue Briefs, NGO Monitor, and Israel Campus Beat. In addition, the Center arranges presentations by top-level political and military experts for the diplomatic corps and the foreign press, through the Institute for Contemporary Affairs.

The Jerusalem Center's program on anti-Semitism after the Holocaust and up to the present day, now in its third year, has proven only too prescient, with anti-Semitism returning as a major issue of public concern. Other major areas of focus include the spread of global terrorism, Jerusalem in international diplomacy, the Israeli economy and privatization, Jews and religion in the American public square, Israel's political system, and water in Israel and the region toward the year 2020.

Presenting Israel's Case –

Over the past year, the Jerusalem Center has developed and implemented an array of cutting-edge programs to present Israel's case to the world. Daily and/or weekly briefings of high-quality, insider information from top sources are sent to tens of thousands of email subscribers, who include leading opinion-makers as well as the top leadership of the Jewish world. In addition, every day, thousands of visitors to the JCPA website choose from among a thousand constantly updated articles. In parallel, at regular breakfast meetings hosted by the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, JCPA provides the foreign press in Jerusalem with a much-needed venue to meet and question leading Israeli experts and analysts, often providing a unique setting where Israeli generals answer questions posed by Arab diplomats.
  • The Daily Alert - a daily digest of hyperlinked news and commentary on Israel and the Mideast from the world and Hebrew press, prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. This project is directed by Dr. Dore Gold, with the assistance of Lenny Ben-David and JCPA Publications Coordinator Mark Ami-El.

  • Jerusalem Center Internal Briefings - Since the end of 2002 JCPA hosted former Republican vice-presidential candidate and Secretary of Housing Jack Kemp, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the architect of the Dayton Accords on Bosnia Richard Holbrooke, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Alan Dershowitz, Norman Podhoretz, UN expert Prof. Anne Bayefsky, and former head of Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia.

  • Jerusalem Viewpoints - bimonthly, in-depth reports and analysis on changing events in Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world. Recent Jerusalem Viewpoints topics have included: “How to Help Palestinian Refugees Today" (Scott B. Lasensky), “Defensible Borders for Israel" (Dore Gold), “The PLO's 'People's War' Strategy" (Joel S. Fishman), and “New Radical Islamic Thinking Justifying the Genocide of Infidels" (Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi).

  • Jerusalem Issue Briefs - presentations by top-level political and military experts for the diplomatic corps and the foreign press, published through the Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA) (see below).

  • NGO Monitor - surveying how powerful non-governmental organizations view Israel, anti-Semitism, the war against terrorism, and other issues; originally produced jointly with B'nai B'rith and now part of ICA.

  • Israel Campus Beat - a weekly information bulletin for diaspora college students sponsored by the Israel on Campus Coalition and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA)

The Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA), a 5-year, $1 million program founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation, provides a unique venue that enables the foreign press and foreign diplomats in Israel to receive briefings by leading Israeli experts from the military, the political world, academia, and the media on security issues, Israeli strategy, regional players, and the war on terrorism. In 2003 ICA hosted:
  • Minister Natan Sharansky
  • Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland (formerly the head of Military Planning and now the Prime Minister's National Security Advisor)
  • Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad (advisor to Defense Minister Mofaz)
  • Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (the Head of Assessment of Military Intelligence)
  • Uzi Rubin (the father of the Arrow Missile Defense Program)
  • MK Ephraim Sneh (formerly Deputy Minister of Defense)
  • MK Dr. Yuval Steinitz (Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee)
The impact of this program is seen often in the news stories generated by these briefings. Information provided at these briefings also becomes the source for the Jerusalem Center's concise, fact-laden Jerusalem Issue Briefs series of reports, distributed by fax and email to key opinion-makers in North America and Europe. ICA is directed by Lenny Ben-David, and is guided by a Steering Committee that includes Dr. Dore Gold, Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg, and Justus Weiner, Esq.

Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism –

The Jerusalem Center's program on anti-Semitism after the Holocaust and up to the present day - its origins and lessons, manifestations and mutations - is now in its third year and has proven only too prescient, with anti-Semitism returning as a major issue of public concern. The program, initiated and directed by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld (who advised the Dutch Jewish community in Israel in its Holocaust restitution negotiations with the Dutch government), includes conferences, seminars, research, lectures in English and French, and publications.

The Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism series of essays and interviews has provided a published forum for numerous international experts including Deborah Lipstadt, Abraham Foxman, Israel Singer, and others, discussing restitution, the academic boycott, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism on the Internet, and anti-Semitism in the Arab world, Austria, France, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, and the post-Soviet states.

In 2003, many of these essays appeared in the book Europe's Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today's Anti-Semitism by Manfred Gerstenfeld (JCPA/Yad Vashem/World Jewish Congress), which documents how rampant anti-Semitism and discrimination against Jews were in post-Holocaust Europe, and how the “new" resurgence of European anti-Semitism is more of a continuation than an innovation.

Other Ongoing Programs –

Global Terrorism

Using previously unpublished documents, JCPA President Dore Gold explored the influence of Saudi Wahhabism on 9/11 - in what became a New York Times bestselling book, Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003). Dr. Gold was asked to testify before a Senate committee in July 2003 about terrorist financing.

Jerusalem in International Diplomacy

A program analyzing the legal and historic rights of Israel in Jerusalem according to existing agreements and UN documents. As part of this program, in 2003 JCPA published Justus Reid Weiner's research study Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon. Both the City of Jerusalem and the Israeli Foreign Ministry purchased hundreds of copies of the book for distribution in Israel and abroad.

The Israeli Economy and Privatization

This comprehensive Milken Institute-JCPA project to study the application and impact of privatization policy in Israel spans more than a decade. The 9th volume in this series is The Application of Environmental Finance in the Israeli Setting: The Yarqon River as a Case Study (2003). The project has been directed by JCPA Director-General Zvi Marom; the academic director is Prof. Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, former Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Finance.

The Jerusalem Center has also undertaken the construction of a data base on privatization in Israel, in cooperation with the Government Corporations Authority. The data base, to be accessible through the Internet, will contain information on the performance of privatized corporations prior to and following privatization, and the terms of privatization. This project is directed by Prof. Yakir Plessner, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel.

Jews and Religion in the American Public Square

In 2003, the Jerusalem Center's U.S. office, the Center for Jewish Community Studies, concluded a three-year, $1,250,000 program initiated and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of their larger project looking at changes in the relationship between religion and public life in the United States. Three books have been published - Jewish Polity and American Civil Society; Jews and the American Public Square: Debating Religion and Republic; and Religion as a Public Good. A fourth book, American Jewry's Challenge: Addressing the 21st Century, will include interviews with the leadership of America's major Jewish organizations, conducted by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld. The project is directed by Prof. Alan Mittleman, assisted by an advisory board that includes Prof. Rela Mintz Geffen, Prof. Jonathan Sarna, and Dr. Robert Licht.

Israel's Political System

JCPA has published academic analyses of every Israeli election campaign since 1981 in the Israel at the Polls series, and the Center is now completing a volume covering the 2003 election, edited by Prof. Shmuel Sandler and Dr. Ben Mollov.

Water in Israel and the Region Toward the Year 2020

A comprehensive study of water in the region from the hydrological, economic, and strategic perspective, including projections and recommendations for water policy, will appear in Hebrew and English, commissioned by the office of Ronald S. Lauder.