Soroka Salon Goes Virtual: Learn, Connect & Get Inspired


American Friends of Soroka Medical Center is hosting a new four-part webinar series “Soroka Salon: The Promise of the Negev”, featuring former members of Knesset and Professor Michael Bar-Zohar. With a distinguished and legendary career at the forefront of the founding of the State of Israel, spanning government, history, and literature, Prof. Bar-Zohar brings Israeli history to life like no other. Each session will explore a unique Negev theme, including the early days, Ben Gurion’s vision, diversity in the Negev, innovation, and medical breakthroughs. Prof. Bar-Zohar will be joined by special guests to help illuminate the story of the Negev.

The first session will take place on Wednesday, March 17th at Noon EST and will focus on “The Early Days” of the Negev, from a historical, social and political perspective. Joining this webinar series is free of charge. Advance registration at

The first guest will be Ambassador Haim Divon, whose career includes posts as Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, to Ethiopia, and to the Netherlands with 41 years in the Israeli Foreign Service and whose personal family history is intertwined with the ascent of the Negev. Future guests will include Ruvik Danilovich, the Mayor of Be’er Sheva (TBC), Dr. Larry Norton (medical research), and Dr. Shlomi Codish, Soroka CEO.

The Negev is the country’s fastest-growing and most diverse region, with over 1.2 million residents, including over 400,000 children, in an area that comprises 60% of Israel’s land. In the words of Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion: “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested”. Prof. Bar-Zohar was a close associate of Ben-Gurion and his biographer. The series will delve into the profound and fascinating history of the Negev, it’s present and future – Is the Negev Blooming? What are the unique challenges in the region and how would we overcome them? There is so much to learn about Negev, as it is one of the most strategic regions in the Middle East.

“Soroka Salon” connects like-minded people in an intimate setting, hosting extraordinary speakers. When the pandemic started, American Friends of Soroka Board Member and Committee Chair, Deborah Cherki was wondering how to continue this special forum when everyone was homebound. Fortunately, technology affords us the opportunity to connect and learn together without leaving our own homes! Deborah Cherki says, “As we try to stay connected and continue to spread Soroka to a broader audience in these unusual times, I am really excited about our new Soroka Salon lectures series “The Promise of the Negev”. Prof. Bar-Zohar is a fountain of knowledge and I personally cannot wait to learn from him and guests. I am really hoping that people will find it interesting and will want to join.” With Ms. Cherki’s leadership, Soroka Friends conceived this series, deepening the discussion about the Negev with one of the most authentic experts. RSVP at When donating to Soroka $180 or more, you will receive a signed copy of his book “David Ben Gurion”:

Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar is an award-winning author, historian, researcher, and politician. He was born in Bulgaria in 1938, grew up in Israel, studied in Jerusalem and in France (Ph.D. in Political Science), and fought in four Israeli-Arab wars (1956, 1967, 1973, 1982). Prof. Bar-Zohar is the official biographer of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder, and first Prime Minister, and having spent over a decade by his side.  Prof. Bar-Zohar became a fervent supporter of peace between Israel and her neighbors, served two terms in Parliament, was a Professor at Haifa University and at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He represented Israel at the Council of Europe; wrote more than 40 books and screenplays. His latest book, The Mossad’s Amazons: The Amazing Women of the Mossad, will be published in the US in April 20231. Prof. Bar-Zohar won awards including the French Academy award, the Ben-Gurion award, the International Migration Award and was knighted by the President of France as Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.

About American Friends of Soroka

Soroka Medical Center is the leading medical center and the only major hospital in the entire region. Home to Israel’s newest comprehensive Cancer Center, The Legacy Heritage Oncology Center & Dr. Larry Norton Institute, Soroka represents peaceful co-existence in action, providing world-class healthcare for all. Reflecting our commitment to the healing arts, American Friends of Soroka Medical Center will install Marc Bennett’s monumental work of art this summer. “The History of the Star of David” offers a space for reflection, while becoming a tourist attraction in the Negev (

American Friends of Soroka Medical Center is a New York State 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. AFS is a community dedicated to supporting the vision and lifesaving work of Soroka Medical Center while educating the U.S. public about its breakthrough medical treatments, research, cutting-edge innovation, and global impact. and @SorokaFriends

Contact American Friends of Soroka Medical Center for additional information at 914-725-9070,

New York Jewish Guide

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