Roundtable A: Studies in Israeli Diplomacy

Prof. Uri Bialer, Hebrew University

Dr. Robert Freedman, Johns Hopkins University

Prof. Zach Levey, University of Haifa

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Ziv Rubinovitz, Sonoma State University

This discussion examines Israeli diplomacy on a grand scale and investigates the role of P.M. Menachem Begin as the key personality behind one of Israel’s greatest diplomatic achievements. Prof. Uri Bialer’s forthcoming book Israeli Foreign Policy: A People Shall Not Dwell Alone offers a grand sweep of Israeli diplomacy from the early days of the state’s existence to the Oslo Accords focusing on Israel’s immigration policy, oil resources, and procurement of armaments. It demonstrates how foreign policy was essential to the political, economic, and social well-being of the state and dealing with the conflict with the Arab states and the Palestinians.

In their book Menachem Begin and the Israel-Egypt Peace Process: Between Ideology and Political Realism, Profs. Gerald Steinberg and Ziv Rubinovitz offer a new look into the peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the 1970s highlighting Begin’s role as a negotiator at the center of the diplomatic process. Using newly released archival material, they look at Begin’s statements on foreign policy and the complexities that he faced in navigating between ideology and political realism in the negotiations towards a peace treaty.

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