On November 21st over 150 participants gathered in the Yitzhak Rabin Center for the 6th Annual Conference of the Mitvim-Institute, held in partnership with FES-Israel. This year’s conference focused on “Israel’s Foreign Policy Between Change and Continuity”.
Among the renowned speakers were the President of Israel (Hon. Isaac Herzog), the UN Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process (Hon. Tor Wennesland), the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Alon Ushpiz), the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection (Tamar Zandberg), the Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) (Huda Abu Arqoub), as well as several Mitvim experts, members of the diplomatic community in Israel and expert journalists and researchers.
The insightful panels and keynotes discussed highly relevant topics for the present and future of Israel’s foreign policy.
Among these focus topics were regional relations between Israel and the MENA-region and Israel and Europe; the potential and challenges of environmental cooperation and climate diplomacy; the peace process and relations with the Palestinians; the role of the international community and the prospect of the new coalition currently building in the Knesset. It emerged that none of these themes in Israeli foreign policy can be approached separately but are interdependent in many ways.
This for instance shows in the potential in climate action cooperation. How Israel could practically cooperate with Europe and in the MENA-region and what role climate diplomacy and the conflict play in this were topics heatedly discussed. It was voiced that cooperative relations with Israel, as for instance regarding gas and renewables, cannot exclude the Palestinian topic. In regards to the conflict and peace process, the UN Envoy Hon.
Tor Wennesland emphasized the role and agency of the UN and underlined that the international community needs to support civil society cooperation, especially in times where official peace talks are not on the political agenda. Adding to this impressive keynote, Huda Abu Aqoub, Palestinian Director for ALLMEP stressed that the status quo needs to be disrupted and the youth, Palestinian and Israeli, that work for change and peace, needs to be mobilized and supported.
How Netanyahu’s upcoming government will position itself in these discussed matters remains to be seen.
Beyond the in-person participants, more than 100 online participants followed the conference via zoom. The recording of the entire conference is available here: Link will be added shortly.