Tel Aviv International Salon

Tel Aviv International Salon LogoTel Aviv International Salon is the largest speakers’ forum in Israel. The Salon serves as a nonpartisan, honest broker that brings top leaders and decision makers to speak in English to Tel Aviv’s community of young professionals, Olim, foreign press, and embassy staff. The Salon provides a unique opportunity to learn, debate and discuss a wide range of challenging topics, including Israeli and global politics, economics, social, media, cultural, Jewish & environmental issues, since 2009.

Beyond hosting fascinating individual speakers, the Salons also produces a few genre specific series. The Great Debate Series brings together two opposing experts on controversial issues relevant for today. The Business Leader Series hosts the market makers in Israel to discuss finance, economy, and various business sectors. The Ambassador Series is hosted in foreign ambassador’s private residences for receptions and intimate talks on international issues with the Tel Aviv young professional community.

• Over 100 Salon speakers since inception
• Hosted over 30,000 participants


Former Salon Speakers Include:

James Woolsey, Director (ret.), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Celebrity Sex Therapist
Alan Dershowitz, Lawyer, Author, Professor & Israel Advocate
Meir Dagan, Mossad Director General (ret.)
Michael Oren, Author & Former Israeli Ambassador to the USA
Rav Yisrael Meir Lau, Former Chief Rabbi of Israel
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Former Chief Rabbi of Britain
Natan Sharansky, Chairman, Jewish Agency for Israel
Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Intelligence & Strategic Affairs
Silvan Shalom, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Energy
Tzipi Linvi, Minister of Justice, Former Leader of the Kadima Party
Yair Lapid, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Yesh Atid Party
Naftali Bennett, Minister of Industry/Diaspora/Religion, Leader of the Bayit Yehudi Party
Yitzchak Boujie Herzog, Leader of the Avoda Party, Head of the Opposition
Itai Anghel, Israeli War Reporter
Shabtai Shavit, Mossad Director General (ret.)
Aaron Friedman, Personal Bodyguard to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
Mordechai Kedar, Middle East Scholar & Israel Advocate
Galit Desheh, Executive Director of the Israel Women’s Network
Aluf Benn, Editor-in-Chief of Haaretz
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo
Laurence Weinbaum, Director- Israel Council on Foreign Relations & Jabotinsky Historian
H.E. Tom Phillips, British Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Dan Shapiro, American Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Matthew Gould, British Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Andrew Standley, EU Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Andor Nagy, Hungarian Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Jaideep Sarkar, Indian Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Tomáš Pojar, Czech Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Dave Sharma, Australian Ambassador to Israel
H.E. Liang-jen Chang, Representative to Israel from Taiwan
Gidi Grinstein, Founder, Reut Institute
Yair Hirschfeld, Architect of the Olso Process
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch
Dan Schueftan, National Security Studies Center Director, University of Haifa
Efraim Inbar, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
Meir Javedanfar, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Biographer
Michael Bar-Zohar, Official biographer of David Ben-Gurion
Rav David Stav, Co-founder & Chairman of Tzohar Rabbinical Organization
Ido Aharoni, Israeli Consul General in New York
Raanan Gissin, Senior Adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ishmael Khaldi, Israel’s First Bedouin Diplomat
Rabbi Joel Tessler, President George W. Bush’s rabbinical confidant
Charles Small, Founder of The Yale Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism
Gilead Sher, Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Pastor Robert Stearns, Christian Zionist Founder of Eagles’ Wings
David Nekrutman, Director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding
Saul Singer, Economist and Author ‘Start Up Nation’
Gadi Baltiansky, Director General of the Geneva Initiative
Yariv Nornberg, Led Archaeological Expedition to Auschwitz
Daphni Leef, Social Protest Tent Camp Organizer
Arieh Eldad, Member of Knesset
Einat Wilf, Member of the Knesset
Hanna Siniora, Palestinian National Council
Merav Michaeli, Member of Knesset
Tzipi Hotovely, Member of Knesset
Stav Shaffir, Member of Knesset
Tamar Zandberg, Member of Knesset
Yaakov Peri, Member of Knesset
Hilik Bar, Member of Knesset
Yuli Tamir, Member of Knesset
Ayelet Shaked, Member of Knesset
Avishay Braverman, Former Minister of Education
Danny Danon, Deputy Minister of Defense
Joseph Nachmias, Irgun Fighter
Thane Rosenbaum, Legal Scholar & Author
Moshe Feiglin, Member of Knesset
Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Jerusalem Archaeologist
Colonel Richard Kemp, Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan
Yossi Klen HaLevi, Author & Journalist
David Hazony, Editor of The Tower & Israel Project Director
Ashley Perry, Adviser to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ruth Calderon, Member of Knesset & Alma Founder
Uri Zaki, Director of B’Tselem USA
Uri Bank, Founder of the “Jordan is Palestine” Israeli Initiative
Rabbi Dov Lipman, Member of Knesset
Tzachi Hanegbi, Former Minister of Justice, Intelligence, and Nuclear Affairs
Yoav Kish, Member of Knesset & Leader of HaMachana HaMeshutaf
Max Abrahms, Professor on Global Terrorism
Emily Landau, Institute for National Security Studies
Ze’ev Maghen, Author “John Lennon & The Jews”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Founder, This World: Jewish Values Network
Peter Beinart, Professor of Journalism & Political Science Writer


Leadership Profiles

Matthew Horowitz

Matt Horowitz is a former Legislative Director in the United States Congress. For over a decade he served as the chief policy advisor for various members of the House of Representatives. As senior staff, he provided expertise and technical capabilities on a wide-range of domestic and foreign issues including National Security, Cyber Security, Information-Technology Policy, Homeland Security, and Foreign Policy. Matt served as the Vice President for the House System Administrators Association (HSAA) and developed continuity of operations plans (COOP) for numerous Congressional Offices and the US House of Representatives.Matt attended Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) and holds a graduate degree from Tel Aviv University in Security and Diplomacy Studies.

Lahav Harkov

Lahav Harkov, is the Knesset reporter for The Jerusalem Post,  and has interviewed major figures across the Israeli political spectrum and has the inside scoop on the country’s top lawmakers. She is often invited to lecture on Israeli government and politics in Israel and abroad. International news outlets, such as the BBC, France 24 and Sky News have sought her insights and analysis about breaking news. She has published articles in Commentary, The Tower, The Jewish Week and the Hebrew-language newspaper Makor Rishon, as well as Jewish culture website Jewcy. Lahav grew up in New Jersey, making aliyah at age 17, where she did two years of National Service (Sherut Leumi) at museums dealing with Jewish and Israeli history. She has a degree in Political Science and Communications at Bar-Ilan University, where she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing, and lives near Tel Aviv with her husband.

Oren Kessler

Oren is the Director of the Centre for the New Middle East at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based foreign policy think tank. Originally from Rochester, New York, Oren lived in Israel from 2006 and 2013, where he was the Jerusalem Post’s Arab affairs correspondent and a writer, editor and translator for Haaretz English Edition newspaper.  A frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, Oren has also written for The Wall Street Journal, World Affairs, The Weekly Standard, the Forward, Tablet, Middle East Quarterly, the Journal of International Security Affairs and Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, and is a frequent guest analyst on international news programs analysing developments in the Middle East. Oren holds an Hon. BA in History from the University of Toronto and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. He is fluent in Hebrew and has advanced command of Spanish and Arabic.

Marina Smolyanov

Marina is now the Head of Eastern Europe Desk of MER Group. Until recently, she served at the Knesset as a Spokeswoman and as a Senior Political Consultant. During this period, she was promoting legislature while working in a collaboration with policy makers, governmental institution, Israeli and international press and leading private sector companies. Throughout her work at the INSS, and in embassies in Washington, DC, and in Madrid, she has experienced a great deal of success in lecturing about Israel, managing public diplomacy strategic projects and generating political campaigns. Marina also gives lectures in English, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian about branding Israel in the world and active as a board member in different non-profit organizations. Marina attained her master’s degree in Public Policy and Economics and a B.A. in Communication from Tel Aviv University. Recently, she was chosen to represent Israel in a competitive business program in Lehigh University of Iacocca Institute- ‘Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry’, representing Israel among 107 representatives from 52 different countries.

Kfir Kachlon
Kfir was born in Tel Aviv and raised in Netanya. During his high school years, Kfir volunteered with the Magen Daviv Adom Emergency Services and was an EMT in the terror stricken city of Netanya during the height of the Second Intifada. After finishing high school, and prior to his IDF service, Kfir set abroad to backpack around Ireland, this trip enlightened Kfir of his passion to explain and introduce Israel to those who are less familiar with it. Kfir served as a Team Leader in the Technical Division of the 135th Squadron of the IAF for 3 years and completed his service at the rank of Staff Sargent. During his service, Kfir twice took part as a soldier on Birthright trips.  After his IDF service, Kfir obtained a LL.B (with a minor in Business Administration) at the Netanya Academic College. During his academic studies Kfir took part in the Jewish Agency For Israel’s delegation to the Summer Camps in North America, and was a Shaliach for the URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, CA. In 2011 the Israel Bar Association licensed Kfir to practice Law in Israel. During his career Kfir was an attorney at one of Israel’s leading international commercial law firms and was a legal consultant at Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., a J&J subsidiary. Currently Kfir is establishing his own law firm and is studying for an LL.M in Commercial Law at Tel Aviv University – University of California in Berkeley Executive LL.M Program.

Elka Looks

Elka is the Communications Manager for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), the public affairs arm of the organized Bay Area Jewish community. She manages the organization’s messaging, brand, social media and public relations, and oversees all of JCRC’s written content and marketing materials. Prior to joining the JCRC, Elka was a communications consultant at Headline Media, an international communications firm based in Tel Aviv, Israel. At Headline Media, she trained outgoing ambassadors, public officials and nonprofit leaders in public speaking, strategic message building and working with the press. Elka also worked as a journalist for Haaretz, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, where she was the editor of the online Jewish World section. In 2011 she received the Israel Research Fellowship, a yearlong grant for individuals who have shown exemplary political leadership and commitment to community. Elka has a B.A. in Government and International Relations from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Arsen Ostrovsky

Arsen grew up in Sydney, Australia and made Aliyah in 2012. He is currently the Director of Research at The Israeli Jewish Congress, an Israeli-based organization devoted to strengthening ties between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora (especially Europe) and between Israel and Europe on a diplomatic level. Also an international human rights lawyer and journalist, Arsen specializes in Middle East foreign policy and national security, Israeli – European relations, anti-Semitism and various issues relating to the Jewish community and Diaspora relations. He is frequently published in leading news publications in Israel and around the world, as well as offering expert commentary on radio and television and as speaker at international conferences. Immediately prior, Arsen was a Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute in the United States and has also served as a Foreign Policy adviser to a Member of Knesset and practiced as a litigation attorney at a global law firm in Australia. As a resident of Tel Aviv, Arsen is deeply passionate and committed to the future of the City, and in particular, engaging the youth and olim.

Tal Jabotinsky