Joshua Ceballos/Assistant News Director
Gil Hoffman, the chief political correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post visited FIU on Oct. 27, 2017 to speak to Shalom FIU, Hillel and the University community at large.
In an interview with Panther Press, Hoffman said that he is currently on a tour of about 10 states, and Florida is the sixth one on his schedule. He is touring American universities and speaking to Jewish groups, as well as student governments and student media nationwide to inform them on the issues going on between Israel and Palestine and the world as a whole.
“College students are the leaders of tomorrow and they’re also among the least informed people in America,” said Hoffman. “So my job, whether it’s in the newspaper or meeting with people is to help people understand better what’s going on.”
Meyer Grunberg, president of Shalom FIU and broadcast media junior spoke to Panther Press on how he came into contact with Hoffman.
“I heard Gil speak in May in Jerusalem… and I thought he was hilarious, in a very captivating way,” said Grunberg. “People think politics is very serious, and it is, but he was able to bring it in a very light tone and he was able to reach out to all of us.”
During the discussion led by Hoffman in the Hillel space, located on the first floor of PG6, Hoffman covered a wide range of topics including the diversity of Israel’s parliament called Knesset, the economic situation in Israel, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s possible indictments and Guns N’ Roses.
“We have an African member of Knesset from Ethiopia who walked his way to Israel from a village with no running water… we have two out of the closet gay members of Knesset… and we have a record number of women, 33 women out of 120 total members,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman touched upon the gap between rich and poor in Israel, which is has the third largest gap after Mexico and the United States. Hoffman said that the country is in agreement on how to better bridge that gap, by providing jobs to the people in the north and south of Israel, away from Jerusalem.
When it came to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Hoffman displayed a deep familiarity with the political figure, and mentioned that they have spoken personally several times.
Netanyahu is in danger of being indicted on three separate charges, according to Hoffman. For accepting expensive gifts from business owners in the U.S., for allegedly bribing a news outlet in Israel to not write too many articles against him, and for possibly being involved in the illegal purchase of submarines from a German shipping company.
On a much lighter note, Hoffman spoke about recent concerts that were held in Israel with performances by Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, though he said the real main attraction was the rock band Guns N’ Roses.
“The largest selling concert in Israel over the last few years was Guns N’ Roses,” said Hoffman. “I don’t know if they could fill much here anymore, but they’re very popular in the land of guns and Moses.”
Hoffman closed his discussion by making a statement to college students and people across the country on how to best help the difficult situation in Israel.
“The most important things are education, advocacy and solidarity,” he said.
All photos taken by Nicole Malanga/Panther Press