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A4BGU’s CEO Shares His Views on 21st-Century Zionism

A4BGU’s CEO Shares His Views on 21st-Century Zionism

May 31, 2023

CEO Op-Eds, Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought

The Jerusalem Post — In the 21st century, as Israel turns 75, how can Zionism most strongly resonate with the heart of Israelis, Diaspora Jews and those across the world who look at Israel as a source of inspiration and innovation? According to Doug Seserman, CEO of Americans for Ben-Gurion University (A4BGU), the answer once again lies in the life-long dream of the Jewish State’s founding father David Ben-Gurion: making the desert bloom.” For Zionism to survive and Israel to thrive, we need a new, compelling rallying cry to mobilize a new generation around what 21st-century Zionism truly stands for,” Seserman said.

Doug Seserman, CEO of Americans for Ben-Gurion University.

“This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary since the establishment of the State of Israel,” he added. “It’s a time to reflect on Zionism’s transformation — where it’s been, where it stands, and where it can go to capture the imaginations and hearts of the Jewish people today and moving forward.”

Located in southern Israel, the Negev covers 60% of Israel’s territory, but is home only to 10% of its population. Over the decades, the desert has become a unique laboratory of new technologies in the fields of agriculture, water, climate change, medicine and more, for the benefit of Israel and the whole planet.

The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is the beating heart of innovation and research in the area once considered barren and today’s viewed as a frontier of new opportunities.

A4BGU represents a movement of like-minded individuals working in the US so that American Jews and Americans in general can rally behind one of Israel’s most positive aspects.

According to Seserman, amplifying the nation’s beneficial global impact is especially crucial at times when public discourse within and outside the country’s borders becomes polarized around controversial political decisions, as it has happened in the past few months with the proposed judicial reform.

“Amid the heated discourse about what’s wrong when it comes to Israel, rally around what’s right,” he said.

The Negev embodies exactly that.

“At its core, the start-up nation of Israel isn’t simply about the next unicorn company. It’s about a future where Israel is living up to the nation’s promise of being a ‘Migdal Or’— a beacon of light to the world by helping to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges,” Seserman noted.

Celebrating Ben-Gurion’s legacy

In order to celebrate Ben-Gurion’s legacy, last year A4BGU launched Ben-Gurion Day in the USA, whose second edition will be marked on November 19, 2023.

The message of hope coming out from the Negev and Ben-Gurion University is also highlighted in the recently released documentary “Who Are the Marcuses?” The movie focuses on the extraordinary story of Holocaust survivors Lottie and Howard Marcus who offered a gift of $500 million to the university – while maintaining a very modest life-style in their two-bedroom apartment in San Diego.

“Today, Israel’s success story in that southern region presents a replicable model for not only inhabiting but thriving in desert environments worldwide,” Seserman concluded.

Doug Seserman, CEO of Americans for Ben-Gurion University (A4BGU) has been invited by The Jerusalem Post to sit on a panel about 21st-century Zionism at The Jerusalem Post’s Annual Conference in New York on June 5. For more info: jpost.com/AC23

Read this article on The Jerusalem Post >>