The American Friends of Ariel is launching a new platform – Talk17 – for sharing the lives and perspectives of Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem with the world.

The new forum will bring together speakers from across the political spectrum to discuss the practical policy issues and controversial questions regarding the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Topics such as international law, water resources, Arab-Jewish coexistence, the region's history, the affects of immigration and the demography, as well as security.

Talk17 will also touch upon other important regional and global issues, ranging from the environment, health and medicine, education and research, to the role of religion in society.

The talks will be given onstage, modeled after the highly successful TED talks, and will be published online and marketed worldwide.

While Talk17 discussions will include people from across the political spectrum, the focus will be on presenting the perspectives of Judea and Samaria’s Jewish residents - “the settlers” - and on helping break the stereotypes of 'settlers' created in the media. The tag line for Talk17 is “Change the Israel conversation.”

Talk17 is named for the year 2017 which marks 50 years from the liberation of Judea and Samaria and the re-unification of Jerusalem, and also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration.

According to Avi Zimmerman, Executive Director of American Friends of Ariel, speaking on the Tamar Yonah show, “People living in Judea and Samaria have been marginalized by the media and not given a voice. Talk17 is designed to proactively share our voice with the rest of the world.”

The Talk17 presentations will take place at the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts. When the center was opened in 2010, 36 actors, playwrights, and other artists declared a public boycott of the center, since it was located in a “West Bank settlement.” Their boycott was given a great deal of media attention. However, Israeli society strongly supported the center, and today it hosts events 185 days a year, with over 550 programs on the waiting list. The Talk17 programs will be an integral part of the center’s offerings.

The American Friends of Ariel is sponsoring a crowdfunding campaign in support of the new program, which is scheduled to debut onstage in January.