Very few contemporary public figures have had as many successes in as many fields as Michael Oren. A writer-statesman in the model of Thucydides, Oren was Israel’s ambassador to the United States during the Obama years, and was before that a historian of the Jewish state, the author of perhaps the best single book on the Six-Day War. He’s also worked in think tanks, been a professor at Ivy League institutions, and served as an MK in the Israeli parliament. Now, with the recent publication of The Night Archera collection of short stories, Oren returns to the genre of fiction, a pursuit that animated his younger years.

This week on the podcast, Oren joins Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver to discuss how his varied career fits together—how the writing of fiction relates to the writing of history, how the study of history relates to the practice of diplomacy, how diplomatic service and writing both require the same aptitudes of perception, and how all of this came together in the service of Zionism and the state of Israel.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

This podcast was recorded over Zoom at a virtual event for members of the Tikvah-Beren Collegiate Forum. You can learn more about the Forum here.

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  1. Michael Powell Member
    Michael Powell
    @Michael Powell

    I’m not sure what Michael Oren is talking about as far as religious observation in Israel – one third of Jews say they never attend synagogue at all.

    Many Arab states seemed to have discovered that it was largely in their interest to accept Israel and that is an interesting phenomenon. There’s a whole bunch of reasons for it, but it’s not the reasons Oren lists here. Israel has evolved in to a very Middle East country, with thick military and economic ties developing from Africa to Eastern Europe. 

    Otherwise, good analysis, especially regarding Biden.

    • #1