Herzliya conference: Background and latest coverage

Since its inception six years ago, the Herzliya Conference quickly became recognized as Israel's most important summit on the state's security and policy. Attended by Israel's most influential leaders and experts as well as prominent international dignitaries, the conference runs under the title "The Balance of Israel's National Strength." [View live coverage of the conference.] This year former US president Jimmy Carter, Alan Dershowitz, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz are included in the roster of speakers at the conference. [View complete list of speakers.] The conference's repute was augmented even further when then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose the platform to address his most important policy speeches: In December 2003 he announced his support for the road map peace plan at the Herzliya conference [Read speech], and in December 2004 he introduced his unilateral disengagement plan at the summit [Read speech]. Developed by the Institute for Policy and Strategy, the conferences' self-stated objective is to "enhance Israel's national policy and contribute to the upgrading of its strategic decision-making process, through policy-driven research and direct interaction between policy analysts and policy-makers." Leading up to the winter meeting, the institute commissions research by task forces and experts in the field to conduct "preliminary research and analysis" over one year. Following the conference, the center presents major policy recommendations based on the discussions and conclusions of the panels to key policymakers. This year the conference thus far has largely centered on Teheran's nuclear program and the potential threat of a nuclear Iran, as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.