Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a recognized expert on Islam and Arabic culture, will discuss “Why Is the Middle East Such a Difficult Area for Americans and Westerners to Understand?” at a program at 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, at the Wilf Jewish Community Center, 1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains.

An assistant professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Kedar is a member of the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center study team on “Facing Radical Islam.” He made headlines after a 2008 Arabic language broadcast on Al Jezeera, where he accused the anchor of rewriting the Koran. The debate clip was posted on YouTube and, to date, has over 384,000 hits.

Kedar is the author of "Assad in Search of Legitimacy," which in part focuses on the manipulation of mass media by Arab rulers. He served in the Israel Defense Force’s department of military intelligence for over 20 years. Fluent in Hebrew, English, and Arabic, Dr. Kedar is frequently asked for his insights by the Israeli Knesset and U.S. Congress.

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The program is being sponsored by the Israel Support Committee of Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains; Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield; Temple Beth O’r Beth Torah, Temple Beth-El/Mekor Chayim, Temple Eman-El, Temple Sholom of Fanwood/Scotch Plains; and Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Whippany and Scotch Plains.

Free and open to the community, RSVPs are requested. Visit www.jfedgmw.org/drkedar or contact Hilary Levine at (973) 92902931 or hlevine@jfedgmw.org.