There are some who feel we are at a critical point in our relationship with Israel, a relationship strained by increasingly divergent political views and priorities. At the same time, as Americans we are moving toward the extremes and surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals. And the reality is, the conversation has stopped. This year the Israel Center of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati wants to bring people with diverse opinions together in the same room to promote learning and robust dialogue about Israel—not to reach consensus but to increase understanding of the other.

We Need to Talk. This initiative is not meant to signal an impending break up (as the clichéd phrase might suggest) but an opportunity to lean in have productive conversations about divisive issues. So whether you’re around a dinner table, in a board room, or at the gym, you feel comfortable engaging in thorny topics.


Through a series of book discussions, roundtables, and speaker events, the Israel Center, in collaboration with the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Mayerson JCC, will facilitate open and honest, and sometimes difficult, discussions about Israel. They will create spaces where people feel comfortable engaging in conversations about Israel.   

We Need to Talk Speaker Series


Welcoming Diverse Voices

Conversations about a Shared Future in Israel




Hear from two diverse voices on the difficult topic of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel: an Israeli-Arab thought leader on this issue, and a Jewish government official from Israel’s conservative Likud party.

Mohammad Darawshe


Mohammad Darawshe is a Shalom Hartman Institute faculty member and Director of Planning, Equality and Shared Society at Givat Haviva Educational Center. He previously served as Co-Director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives and as Elections Campaign Manager for the Democratic Arab Party and later The United Arab List. Mohammad Darawshe is considered a leading expert on Jewish-Arab relations and has presented lectures and papers at the European parliament, NATO Defense College, World Economic Forum, and Club de Madrid, US Congress, Herzliya Conference and Israel's Presidential Conference. He was the recipient of the Peacemakers Award from the Catholic Theological Union, and the Peace and Security Award of the World Association of NGOs, and was Leadership Fellow at the New Israel Fund.


In 2008, Mohammad Darawshe was elected as a city council member in his hometown Iksal. In 2009 he served as a member of The National Committee which drafted Israel's Coexistence Education policy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Hartford University. He lives in Iksal with his wife and four children.

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum


Fleur grew up in Gibraltar and studied law at Kings College, London University. She qualified as a barrister in 1997 and practiced in London before becoming the Campaign Director of World Jewish Relief. In 2001 along with her husband Fleur made Aliyah and was recruited by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee where she served as a senior associate in resource development for 6 years, dealing specifically in Europe with individuals, foundations and institutions. In 2007 Fleur was recruited by Tikva Children’s Home to establish an International Relations Department based in Israel in order to develop resources for Tikva worldwide.


Recently, Fleur was the founder of Message Experts, using her experience as a presenter, barrister and fundraiser to help a wide range of organizations and individuals reaching their goals through effective communication. Fleur is bilingual in English & Spanish and fluent in Hebrew. Her clients range from established hi-tech companies to start ups to academic institutions and nonprofits. Today, Hassan-Nahoum holds the municipal “foreign-ministry portfolio,” where she has a vision of the city that reflects Israel’s self-determination, economic potential and responsibility to the Jewish Diaspora, while advocating for the education and financial well-being of the city’s minorities. 

Resetting the Table

Courageous Communication Across Divides

What does it look like to have collaborative deliberation in the face of strong differences? And how do you lead your community in setting the table for productive dialogue? Resetting the Table, in partnership with the Jewish Federation’s Israel Center and the JCRC, offered community leaders from Jewish organizations in Cincinnati the opportunity to join a two-day training to learn a framework, tools, and skills for building a culture of meaningful dialogue across differences in Jewish life. Participants will work the Resetting the Table consultants and trainers over the next five months to implement dialogue across divides within their own organizations.

Want to Start a Conversation about Israel? 

Join the Conversation! 

If you’re interested in having Amnon lead a discussion about Israel or just want more information, sign up here


Community Shaliach (Emissary) from Israel | 513-985-1535


We Need to Talk is presented by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and its Jewish Community Relations Council, in partnership with the Mayerson JCC.