Naomi Chazan is a senior Israeli academic, an activist for peace and women’s rights, and a former member of the Knesset. In this wide-ranging conversation with Rafael Epstein, she examines the issues facing the region.
Chazan shares how she ended up in the Knesset, and describes what she sees as being the key factors holding Israel back from identifying patterns and challenges in the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. Speaking about the New Israel Fund, she stresses the importance of human and civil rights organisations to any democratic society, and explains her own organisation’s aims.
It’s clear that Chazan sees the current period of change in the Middle East as an opportunity for governments and citizens to revitalise their values and commit to active adaptation. Reflecting on this ‘extraordinary period in the Middle East’, she analyses the Palestinian experience of change in the region and the effect economic growth has had on its internal politics. She confesses to being ‘increasingly convinced that this is the most momentous period in Israel’s history since 1948’.