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Jun 20, 2013

#tomorrow13 - The President's Conference: happily over the top

The President's Conference, also known as #tomorrow13, has been around now for 5 years. The focus of it is engaging in issues that will influence the face of our future. The sub-text of it is a love-fest for President Shimon Peres.

For 2.5 days, world leaders, industry leaders, economists, moralists, experts in their fields of expertise all gather and shower love upon Shimon Peres and Israel, through discussions of how to plan with the various issues of today and tomorrow. The conference is scheduled around Peres's birthday, this year his 90th.

I had the pleasure of attending the conference, or part of it at least. The organizers once again invited bloggers along with the traditional press to participate. And not just to participate, but they even had arranged special sessions for bloggers only, such as a meeting to discuss issues with STanley Fisher, a discussion with Shimon Peres and Sharon Stone and some were scheduled to meet and interview the famous Israeli singer Rita.

Love-fest or not, it is a great conference.

There was a lot of criticism in the media about the conference this year. The criticism was about the expense, the lavish appearance, the over-the-top atmosphere, and the like, especially while many Israelis are struggling to get by, with cost of living going up, with taxes going up, with the government running a deficit, etc.

I don't know from that, and will ignore it. I do not know how much of this, if at all, was paid for by the government. Maybe it all came from private donations - I don't know. Was it grandiose, and maybe over the top? Yes, but so what - the man is 90 years old and has found unprecedented love in both Israel and around the world in recent years - let him enjoy it a bit, while Israel benefits from the exposure.

I had the pleasure of hearing world leaders and experts, and there were plenty I was not able to hear due to overlapping sessions. World leaders were heaping praise on Israel (in addition to the praise heaped on Israel), making statements of support to Israel, coming to Israel  and making the BDS movement a failure, and as a bonus they told us about their vision for the future in whatever topic they were discussing.

Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, Angela Merkel, Tony Blair, Juan Carlos, Rahm Emmanuel, Barbara Streisand, Robert DeNiro, Natan Sharansky, Benjamin Netanyahu, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Shai Agassi, Stanley Fisher, Prince Albert of Monaco and the list goes on and on, all talking about their fields of expertise and the role they will play in Israel in the future, and the role Israel will play in those fields and industries. Note: some of the name mentioned above were physically present while others sent messages by video. The only thing missing, that can be done better next year, would be to have Benji Lovitt give the keynote address (they call it a plenary session)!

The event was great for seeing friends and fellow bloggers, and for networking. But really it was great to hear so much praise heaped on Israel, along with the intellectual stimulation of hearing and talking to such industry experts and leaders. Over the top a bit? Maybe, but so what!

Thanks #tomorrow13 for the conference, and for the invitation.

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It's amazing that supposedly right-wing / religious bloggers take a break this week to fawn over Peres because they got some VIP passes.


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