Ambassador Ido Aharoni — Celebrating Israel’s 75th Anniversary

As Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary, Yael Eckstein welcomes to the podcast Ambassador Ido Aharoni, an Israeli diplomat who has devoted his entire career to building bridges between Israel and the world. As Ambassador Aharoni shares with Yael, Israel is a miracle whose survival and success has been powered by the creativity and spirit of the Jewish people. Yet, more needs to be done to bring Israel’s unique brand and success story to the world. “Sure, people have heard of Israel,” Ambassador Aharoni tells Yael, “but we need to make sure that they also understand the value we bring to the table. That’s the key.” Listen now as Yael and Ambassador Aharoni celebrate Israel—past, present, and future.

Episode Notes

Ido Aharoni grew up in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, the son of parents whose families came to Israel in the early 1900s, and who were part of the generation who fought for Israel’s independence in 1948. Israel then looked much different than the Israel of today.

“When I was born, there was only 2.5 million Israelis. Today, we’re close to ten million, and we’re projected to be 18 million by the time we celebrate our 100th birthday,” Ambassador Aharoni says. “That’s an unprecedented level of growth.”

At the time Aharoni was growing up, Israel was a country whose economy was based largely on agriculture. The number one export was Jaffa oranges. As the Ambassador recalls, there was no real wealth in the country. With few exceptions, most people lived in small apartments with few luxury items.

That all changed in the 1990s when Israel started to emerge as a technology superpower. And that creativity and innovative spirit were not just limited to technological advances, but to all areas of life. The key, though, said Aharoni, is to help others understand the depth and breadth of what Israel brings to the world.

For most of his career, Ambassador Aharoni served his country as a senior diplomat, most notably as the longest-serving Consul General to New York. In that position, he played a key role in enhancing cultural, economic, and diplomatic ties between Israel and the United States. In recent years, Ambassador Aharoni has devoted his global understanding to help position Israel on the world stage.

Aharoni founded the Brand Israel program and was subsequently named head of Israel’s first brand-management program, charged with promoting a broader perspective of Israel through cutting-edge marketing and branding initiatives.

As Aharoni says, “No place, no person, no organization wishes to be solely defined by its problems. Every place has a DNA, a personality, just like a human being.”

To Ambassador Aharoni, Israel’s DNA is the creativity and spirit of her people. “The key to understanding the survivability and success of the Jewish people is their refusal to accept limitations. The second thing is that Israel is a nation of storytellers, and stories, by their nature, inspire people.

“That is our DNA as a nation, and regardless of what is happening in the political sphere, I think that Israel will continue to thrive in the next 75 years and beyond.”