Israel’s Threat Matrix: A survey of the challenges on Israel’s borders and beyond

by | Mar 22, 2019 | Uncategorized

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, and community partners’ latest Israel Today expert, visited Tidewater February 19–21, where he spoke to more than 1,100 people. The senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Schanzer offered insight into threats that Israel faces on her borders—including with Iran and its proxy groups Hezbollah and Hamas—as well as the changing alliances between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf nations. He was informative, engaging, and educational.

Over the course of three days, Schanzer spoke to students at Tallwood High School’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy, First Colonial High School’s Legal Studies Academy, upper school students at Cape Henry Collegiate, and college students at Norfolk State and Virginia Wesleyan Universities, where he provided a detailed look into the Middle East, as well as an explanation of intricate and biased headlines often seen in the mainstream media. He also spoke about the work and research being conducted at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the think tank where he is employed, in an effort to expand their minds about potential careers.

At an event open to the entire community, with visiting guests from Israel Today partner, AIPAC, Schanzer was joined by Representative Elaine Luria, of Virginia’s 2nd District, in a discussion that was moderated by Art Sandler, UJFT past president and an AIPAC National Board member. Schanzer informed the room of some 200 people of actions being taken by Middle Eastern nations, China, and Russia, that are affecting Israel and the United States. Everyone should be watching and engaging with elected officials in discussion to support the United States and its ally, Israel, he said.

Representative Luria, who recently traveled to Israel for her first time with the American Israel Education Foundation, spoke about her experience visiting holy sites, meeting with leaders in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and meeting with military and intelligence agencies. The trip was comprised of a bipartisan delegation of freshmen U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen. Rep. Luria also shared her recent experience of joining with Rep. Gottheimer (NJ-05) to lead members of the Democratic party in sending a letter to Democratic House Leadership, urging them to condemn anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from Capitol Hill.

For more information on the Israel Today series, including upcoming events, contact Melissa Eichelbaum at

Melissa Eichelbaum

Join the CRC, Simon Family JCC and community partners for the next event in the Israel Today series, From Remembrance to Independence: Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’Atzmaut with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, branding expert, career public servant in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and Global Distinguished Professor, on Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 pm at Ohef Sholom Temple. Free and open to the community, with RSVP (required), to or 321-2304.