Nov. 5, 2020

Doron Spielman on Genesis 33 – “To Mt. Seir and Back: Diplomacy, Brotherhood and the Need for a Jewish State”

Mark is absolutely delighted to welcome his great friend, Doron Spielman, to the podcast today. Since 2000, Doron has served as a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, and he continues to serve in this unit for frequent reserve duty. He is also one of the founders and leaders of the City of David, the ancient Jerusalem tourist and archaeological site, which Mark and his wife, Rabbi Erica, consider ‘the most important place in the world, perhaps’. The passage he has selected to discuss with Mark is Genesis 33.

Their conversation begins with Doron explaining the reason he changed universities, his description of Ir David, the turning point in his life that brought him to the City of David, and Mark’s recommendation to watch Erick Stakelbeck’s series on the City of David. They then turn their attention to the passage itself, engaging in an extensive exploration of the significant moments within it, Jacob’s story leading up to it, his trickery, deception, and diplomacy, and the notion of truth in his family. The passage’s relevance to The Abraham Accords and the current challenge that Doron sees for the State of Israel is also explored, as are relationships between Jewish people and Gentiles, and the two meanings of the word ‘enough’ within the Bible. As with all episodes, today’s closes with the lessons our guest has learned about humankind. Genesis 33 abounds with lessons for society today, particularly with regards to the State of Israel.

Episode Highlights:

  • · Why Doron went from Michigan St to the University of Michigan
  • · The turning point that brought him to the City of David
  • · Ir David
  • · Erick Stakelbeck’s ‘The City of David's Top 10 Finds Proving Israel's Claim to Jerusalem’
  • · The significance of the moment when Esau hugs Jacob
  • · Jacob’s story up to this passage and his trickery
  • · Jacob’s trickery
  • · ‘Circling the mountain’
  • · Truth in Jacob’s family
  • · Jacob’s deception/diplomacy lesson for current times
  • · The Abraham Accords
  • · The current challenge Doron sees for the State of Israel
  • · Jewish and Gentile relationships
  • · The two meanings of ‘enough’
  • · The lessons about humankind that Doron has learned


“The moment I went to the University of Michigan, my trajectory was really on course to move to Israel and it prepared me for a lot of what I would face.”

“This was a sensible woman, educated at the University of Michigan, who no longer felt any justification whatsoever for the State of Israel and was leading what became the BDS movement.”

“The City of David…is actually the biblical site of Jerusalem.”

“The City of David has been recognized as the most important archeological site in the State of Israel.”

“You realize the Bible’s unfolding in front of your eyes.”

“He doesn’t get a sword, he gets a hug.”

“I’ve made peace, but I am different…I will protect my generations.”

“That’s no way to treat your brother!”

“There is a very fine line between diplomacy and deception.”

“Who are we going to be as a people now that our defenses are somewhat going down?”

“The trickery that we see in Genesis is one of the reasons why we need a State of Israel.”

“When there’s a Jewish state, we can be forthright, we can be direct, we can have incredible relationships with our gentile friends and allies, and grow together with them, not as one people, as two peoples.”

“David and Bathsheba did what Isaac and Rebekah didn’t do.”

“One story teaches the next and they all teach us.”

“That magical sense - that is what the City of David produces in people.”

“We are all important people in a story that is much larger than ourselves.”

“There is a child inside every single person.”

Genesis 33 -


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