Retired Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon served in the Israel Defense Forces for 35 years, during which time he was the commander of the Nahal Brigade, the West Bank Division and the Northern Formation, which secures Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
As part of an effort by left-leaning, pro-Israel lobbying group J Street to become more active in Atlanta, Tibon is presenting “Personal Reflections on the Fight for Security and Democracy in Israel” on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at The Temple in Midtown.
He plans to address topics including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iran nuclear deal, and the state of Israeli society and democracy. He will be interviewed by his son, Haaretz correspondent Amir Tibon.
Tibon spoke to the AJT by phone before his trip to Atlanta.
AJT: So you’re a supporter of the two-state solution?
Tibon: I think today there is a unique possibility because of the strategic situation to move forward with an agreement with the Palestinians and the moderate Arab countries. Why do I support it? Because if we won’t take care of it today, at the end of the day a one-state solution will destroy the state of Israel, and in two generations we either not be Jewish or not a democracy.
AJT: Your son, Amir, will interview you as part of this event. Is that fun for you?
Tibon: I am the father of Amir when I come to America because he is very successful and very famous, and I am very proud of him. I’m very happy to sit with my son on the same stage, and I think it’s going to be very interesting because we are going to be representing two different generations. Of course, he is smart, and he is sharp, so I have to be very careful.
AJT: Do you find that you two disagree on a lot of topics?
Tibon: Basically, we share the same views about the future of Israel. But, of course, Amir is a smart young man, and he has his own views. We have a democracy in our house, so everyone can say what they think.
AJT: Is there any specific message you try to get across when speaking?
Tibon: The main message is there are moderate, positive people in the state of Israel that respect the relationship with American Jewry, and they are willing to fight to achieve peace in the region, and I’m proud to be a part of this. The main mission today in Israel is to replace Benjamin Netanyahu and put Israel on track to achieve peace and to solve the Palestinian issue as soon as possible, and I really believe that we can do it.
AJT: Why are you unsupportive of the prime minister?
Tibon: I feel very bad about the behavior of Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. They lied to American Jewry about the Kotel agreement. I want to make sure that every American Jew feels at home in Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that the Kotel would be open to every Jew, and I’m going to fight for that.
AJT: What part of Israel did you grow up in?
Tibon: I was born in Kibbutz Tzora. This kibbutz was built by my parents, who were Palmachniks, which means they fought in the 1948 independence war. My father’s family made aliyah from Hungary, and my mother’s family made aliyah from Germany. I grew up as a kibbutznik and an Israeli patriot, which led me to my career in the military.
Who: Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon
What: J Street briefing on Israeli security and democracy
Where: The Temple, 1589 Peachtree St., Midtown
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15
Admission: Free; www.jstreet.org/tibonGA