Russ Roberts: Life in Israel Since October 7

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This is the audio version of The Reason Livestream, which takes place every Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

When Russ Roberts, an economist and host of the podcast EconTalk, received a job offer to become president of Jerusalem’s Shalem University, it seemed like “a no-brainer,” he wrote in his 2022 book Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us. Giving up his ability to work from his home in America on whatever interested him intellectually as a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution? “Only a fool would take the job,” he wrote. But that was only if one considered the opportunity using a purely utilitarian pro/con checklist. For Roberts, this was a “wild problem,” one that required him to consider “who I am and who I want to be.” And with that in mind, he said, “it was a no-brainer in the other direction.” He took the job and moved to Israel in 2021.

Reason’s Liz Wolfe and Zach Weissmueller spoke with Roberts about Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attacks in Israel and their aftermath. They discussed how the attacks have transformed Israeli culture and politics, what it’s like to live within a 90-second missile trip from Gaza, how a free society should respond to openly anti-Jewish rallies and actions such as tearing down hostage posters, and what the relationship between the United States and Israel has been and should be.

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