Understanding the Political Quagmire in Israel
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Understanding the Political Quagmire in Israel
8th February 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Israel is in the grips of a new political reality as the new government—described as the most right-wing in Israel’s history—takes the helm of a complicated set of priorities and competing interests that will likely have a significant impact on Israel’s political system. Is it a major crisis that threatens to eliminate Israel’s democracy or is it merely a rebalancing act between the country’s three chief pillars: legislative, political and judicial? We are joined by Eyal Arad, one of Israel’s top strategic consultants and campaign managers, with over 30 years of extensive experience. Arad helped design political campaigns that ultimately elected three Israeli Prime Ministers—Benjamin Netanyahu (1996), Ariel Sharon (2001, 2003) and Ehud Olmert (2005), as well as Shimon Peres to President of Israel and numerous others. Our conversation will take a deep dive into the current state of play on the ground in Israel. What motivates today’s Likud party? What is the current thinking around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the two-state outcome?
To explore the above issues, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to welcome you to join this online discussion about the current Israeli politics.
Eyal Arad is one of Israel’s top strategic consultants and campaign managers, with over 30 years of extensive experience. He has led the teams, which helped to elect three Prime Ministers– Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, as well as the President of Israel Shimon Peres; and numerous other campaigns to MK’s, mayors, and national organizations. Mr Arad also worked abroad in various locations.
Dr Gadi Yishayahu holds a PhD in the study of crises in the Department of International Politics at the University of London (City). He previously worked in the field of crisis management in the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Deloitte Economic Consulting Services, and as a senior associate in a commercial law firm in Tel-Aviv. His research focuses on the foreign policy of Israel, contemporary Foreign Policy Crises and their implications on the discipline of crisis management.
Dr Burcu Ozcelik holds a PhD in Politics and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge and subsequently held the prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Department of Politics and International Studies where she taught Conflict, Peacebuilding, and the Politics of the Middle East.
Dr Ozcelik’s research primarily focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, non-state armed actors and peacebuilding. She has extensive experience with Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Israel.
Prior to joining HJS, Dr Ozcelik was an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and has previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey and in civil society, focusing on democracy and human rights. In addition to her scholarly articles, Dr Ozcelik’s research has been widely published in journals including War on the Rocks, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, New Lines Magazine, Middle East Eye, the Royal United Services Institute and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Dr Ozcelik also acted as contributing editor of The politics of race and racialisation in the Middle East (Routledge 2022) and authored An Analysis of Seyla Benhabib’s The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens (Routledge and Macat 2017).
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to host an event with Eyal Arad, Dr Gadi Yishayahu, chaired by Dr Burcu Ozcelik. Burcu started us off underlining the talking point of the event; the crisis that is liberal democracy in Israel. Gadi expressed condolences to Turkey and Syria both to which Israel sent aid. According to him, Israel is currently facing the worst political crisis in 75 years with the most right-wing government in the country’s short history. Eyal unpicked the division in society between the urban and peripheral classes, new vs old elites which sees opposing views on policy reforms. As it turns out, national identity and shared values simply aren’t enough to hold societies together. He also explained the current political system in place, the lack of a separate government and parliament, written constitution, and a huge imbalance of power. There are consequently no parliamentary checks and to exploit this further, the government have petitioned the removal of the Supreme Court’s rights to checks so that they can’t manipulate the policy agenda and decision-making power of the leaders. The government is a coalition of nationalists, ultraorthodox and Netanyahu loyalists which conveniently all support this reform. The discussion concluded with a q&a session.
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