At a festive event, IDC Herzliya’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism looks back on its first two decades.
First published in Spring Herzliyan 2016
“We hold conferences and seminars on serious, somber issues all the time, but tonight we are celebrating,” said Prof. Boaz Ganor, founder and executive director of IDC Herzliya’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy, welcoming guests to ICT’s 20th anniversary event.
ICT’s staff, fellows and associates, past and present, as well as supporters, friends and family members gathered on campus to enjoy a reception and a series of talks and panels to mark the special occasion.
“We are family here tonight,” said Ganor. “ICT’s work is based in large part on volunteer and pro bono work, and this is an evening of recognition for all those people.”
Among those in attendance were longtime ICT supporters Dafna and Gerry Cramer and the Judisman family, and Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon. Journalist Tali Lipkin-Shahak was the evening’s moderator, and musical performances were given by Lee Ganor and her band, who delivered moving renditions of various Michael Jackson songs.
IDC president and founder Prof. Uriel Reichman praised the institute, saying, “ICT symbolizes the spirit of IDC and its commitment to Zionism and the Jewish state. This is a Zionism that the extreme left and right are questioning, but one that everyone here is committed to. ICT is also a monumental academic accomplishment. It established a new academic discipline that has been exported all over the world. Numerous research institutes and universities model their programs after ICT.”
Shabtai Shavit, chairman of ICT’s Board of Directors and former head of the Mossad, said he was moved by how much the institute has accomplished since it was established. “Uriel Reichman correctly identified the opportunity and the potential of the idea that we had for the institute and gave us a home. I commend him and thank him for that.”
Several ministers and Knesset members sent in video greetings congratulating ICT on its milestone. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that “ICT’s practical approach helps us form our policy and make the right decisions in fighting terror.” MK Tzipi Livni said that “the entire free world should understand that terrorism is an attack on all of our values, and it is something we have to win. The great work that Boaz is doing is making this clear to the whole world.”
A panel featuring the founders of ICT was held, during which panel members Ganor, Reichman, Shavit, IDC vice president for External Relations Jonathan Davis and founding partners Aharon Scherf and Dr. Ronen Hoffman reminisced about the early days of ICT and its establishment. They shared humorous anecdotes, which offered a break from the usual serious subject matter of counter-terrorism.
In a one-on-one interview with Lipkin-Shahak, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead, director of the Political-Military Bureau at the Defense Ministry, gave a sobering analysis of the current reality in Middle East. “Al-Qaeda looks like a humanitarian organization compared to ISIS, and unconventional weapons like chemical weapons are now becoming conventional in Syria," he said. "We need international strategic cooperation and offensive capability. In the Middle East, it’s important to have a diplomatic horizon, but there’s no way to know if it will lead to a solution, and even if it does, whether or not the leaders will be able to stop terrorism. At the height of the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, we saw terrorism as we’d never seen it before.” Gilead concluded by saying that “Unfortunately, we will need ICT not only in 20 years’ time, but in 200 years’ time.”
Former minister and senior ICT research fellow Dr. Uzi Landau cited former U.S. Defense Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, saying that “ICT should be working on figuring out the things that we don’t know we don’t know.”
ICT U.S. Army War College Fellow Lt. Col. Ed Brady and his predecessor Col. John Kenkel did a joint interview, with Kenkel saying, “Last year I was the luckiest colonel in the U.S. Army, and this year it’s Ed. I told Ed, ‘You just hit the jackpot – this is the best gig you can get, the chance of a lifetime.”
In a panel of ICT fellows and associates, Dr. Gil Ariely, Devorah Chen, Ben Harel, Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, and Ehud Yatom shared their reasons for joining ICT after their dedicated service to Israeli security and the struggle against terrorism.
Reichman seemed to sum up the feeling of those in attendance when he thanked the people in the room for all they have done for Israel’s security. “Thank you for coming to honor the amazing work of ICT,” he said. “Within this family, on this special day we are recognizing the institute’s incredible accomplishments.”