By Sam Israel
Loyola University Chicago Hillel invited Shahar Arieli, the Israeli Consulate of Academic Affairs in the Midwest, to speak to students about the Arab Spring, Iran’s nuclear threat, and the challenges towards ending peace peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Arieli began his discussion by laying out the big differences between Israel and its neighbors, saying that the key differences are that Israel is the only Democratic and Jewish Nation in the Middle East.
Arieli then said to the audience that despite tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, a compromise must be created to establish peace between the two nations.
“The future of the peace process rests in our hands,” Arieli said. “We are willing to make compromises, but we are not willing to jeopardize the security of Israel.”
Another topic that Arieli discussed was the threat of Iran, saying that Iran must not become a nuclear power at all costs.
“When Iran is threatening to wipe your country off the map and is building nuclear weapons, military action may be necessary.” Arieli said. “We don’t want that to happen, but it is possible.”
Many audience members agreed with the points that Arieli argued during his discussion.
“I thought that it was a wonderful presentation and that he was a wonderful speaker,” said Andrey Puzanov, 19, a freshman physics major. “Personally, I’m a bit skeptical about the peace process but I do hope for it.”
Other audience members however had some disagreements with Arieli’s presentation.
“He was forthright about his opinions,” said Brandon Zelaskow, 22, a senior political science major. “However, I could see why Iran could be pursuing nuclear power, considering the tensions that it has with so many countries.”
Arieli concluded the discussion on a positive note by saying that the friendship between Israel and the United States remains strong.
“Like any good friendship there are some arguments with Israel and the U.S,” Arieli said. “However, the Israeli people have high approval of the U.S and President Obama.”