Historically, The Jerusalem Post has served a unique function in Israel’s media landscape.In the years following its establishment in 1932, when it was called The Palestine Post, the English-language daily catered to the many English-speaking groups that lived or passed through the British Mandate in Palestine. Tourists and pilgrims, Jewish immigrants from English-speaking countries and the thousands of administrators, soldiers and police officers employed by the British Mandate all made up the paper’s core readership.

Zionist leaders saw in the Post an important tool for influencing British policy in the Mandate.

To this day, the Post caters to a decidedly international readership. In addition to the millions exposed to the original English-language content online or in the International Edition, the thousands who read the hard copy locally have points of reference that are not restricted to the local.

In foreign embassies and consulates across the country, the Post is a daily staple. Ambassadors, diplomatic envoys, military attaches and foreign embassy officials representing dozens of countries are numbered among our most loyal – and influential – readers. It was in large part due to this realization that the Post decided last year to launch an annual Diplomatic Conference.

On Thursday, the Post will hold its Second Annual Diplomatic Conference at the Daniel Herzliya hotel, featuring President Shimon Peres and senior Israeli figures alongside members of the foreign diplomatic corps and representatives of world Jewry.

The Iranian nuclear drive, on the one hand, and the peace talks with the Palestinians, on the other, will be the focus of a question-and-answer session between Post editor- in-chief Steve Linde and President Shimon Peres. Maj.- Gen. Noam Tibon, commander of the IDF Northern Corps, will provide a security review of military threats, particularly on our northern border.

One of the featured speakers will be Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also chief negotiator of the peace talks with the Palestinians. Livni recently told the Post that she has “unfinished business” to complete with the Palestinians.

But what will be her reaction to pessimism expressed on the right by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) and on the left by former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin? Even Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is slated to speak at the Post conference, is highly skeptical, telling The New York Times in May before talks with the Palestinians began that Abbas was “one of the founding fathers of the victimizing concept of the Palestinians.” The Post’s senior contributing editor Caroline B. Glick, who has just written a book on a one-state solution for Israel, is also likely to address the Palestinian issue in her talk.

Will British Ambassador Matthew Gould use his speaking time to encourage Israel to compromise, or will he also have critical words for the Palestinians? Gould, who vehemently opposes boycotts against Israel, is also known to see the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict as fueling anti-Israel sentiment, not because the conflict is presented negatively in the media or due to the failure of public diplomacy but because of the realities on the ground, such as “ongoing settlement building, conditions in the West Bank and restrictions placed on the Gaza Strip.”

Meanwhile, with Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF (the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions), addressing the conference, the plight of European Jewry – particularly the recent attacks on circumcision, ritual slaughter and even the wearing of a kippa or other recognizably Jewish signs – will undoubtedly be discussed.

A quarter of European Jewry said they avoided visiting visibly Jewish places and wearing visibly Jewish symbols like a kippa for fear of anti-Semitism, according to preliminary findings from a major survey of European Jewry conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Will Cukierman offer a forecast on the future of European Jewry? In short, the Post’s Second Annual Diplomatic Conference will touch on most of the major geopolitical issues facing Israel and the Jewish people.

Since its founding 81 years ago, the Post has targeted the international community, from its significant readership abroad to the many foreign diplomats stationed in Israel.

This year’s conference reflects that international emphasis and promises to be an exciting, news-making event.

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