Mitvim

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Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
Logo showing the name of the Mitvim Insitute and its graphic design.png
Founded2011
TypeForeign Policy think tank
Location
Websitewww.mitvim.org.il

Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, is a think tank based in Ramat Gan, Israel. Mitvim's goals are to develop and promote a new, progressive foreign policy paradigm for Israel; to advance Israeli–Palestinian peace; and to reshape Israel's regional relations in the Middle East, Europe, and the Mediterranean.

Mitvim was established in 2011, by Dr. Nimrod Goren, a 2009–10 Fulbright Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at Syracuse University. Mitvim is consistently ranked among the top 50 think tanks in the Middle East and North Africa by the University of Pennsylvania's Global Go To Think Tank Report, and is also recognized as one of the world's leading regional studies centers.[1] Mitvim has core staff members and a network of policy fellows, researchers, and experts.

Program areas[edit]

Mitvim has three program areas: improving Israel's foreign policy, advancing Israeli–Palestinian peace, and promoting Israel's regional belonging in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Europe. In each program area, Mitvim produces original research and policy recommendations, which are put into policy use via publications, briefings, meetings with politicians, government officials, and diplomats, regional exchanges, and media engagement. Mitvim activities include research, policy planning workshops, task teams, expert working groups, and public opinion polls.

To improve Israel's foreign policy, Mitvim develops guiding principles for a new foreign policy paradigm that is pro-peace, multi-regional, outward looking, modern, and inclusive of Palestinian citizens of Israel.[2] Mitvim also develops recommendations to empower and strengthen Israel's foreign service and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Mitvim works with the Knesset and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to elevate the level of knowledge on foreign policy issues, and studies public opinion on relevant topics.

To advance Israeli–Palestinian peace, Mitvim supports official peace processes and initiatives, and develops new mechanisms for pro-peace civil society cooperation. Mitvim works to analyze and formulate effective incentives package for peace, develop policy proposals to advance the peace process, and engage with Palestinian and regional think tanks on policy dialogues towards peace. Mitvim engages with international diplomats and decision-makers (from Europe, the US, regional countries, and the United Nations). Mitvim provides expertise on the status of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; provides recommendations on improving international efforts to support the peace process; and provides analysis of opportunities to improve the situation on the ground when there is no clear political progress towards peace.

To promote Israel's regional belonging, Mitvim establishes new channels for policy dialogue with Arab think tanks, and identifies the opportunities to promote Israeli–Arab regional cooperation, while emphasizing their linkage to Israeli–Palestinian peace. In 2017, Mitvim and the Davis Institute held a workshop assessing the impact of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on Israel's Foreign Relations in the Middle East, Europe, China and East Asia, and with the United States.[3]

Activities[edit]

Briefings[edit]

Mitvim engages with international diplomats, special envoys, and decision-makers in three areas: providing expertise on the status of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; providing recommendations and analysis on improving international efforts to support the peace process; and providing analysis of opportunities for international partners to improve the situation on the ground in the absence of a peace process. Mitvim's engagement includes special briefings, brainstorming sessions, and ongoing policy dialogue. Mitvim experts also produce regular analyses and gives media interviews explaining the initiatives, their relevance to the Israeli public, and the opportunities they hold.

Mitvim also provides briefings to Knesset caucuses, conferences, and parliamentarians on issues relating to Israel's foreign policy and regional relations.[2]

Dialogues[edit]

Mitvim establishes and participates in regional dialogues and joint policy recommendations with Turkish, Jordanian, Palestinian, and other experts.

Israel–Turkey[edit]

During the Israel–Turkey diplomatic crisis, Mitvim engaged in a policy dialogue to support reconciliation, through a program of Track II Diplomacy and policy dialogue with Turkish civil society partners. The Israel–Turkey Policy Dialogue Publication Series of Mitvim and the Global Political Trends Center, in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, includes: Turkey–Israel Relations: Crises and Cooperation,[3] The Path to Normalization between Israel and Turkey,[4] The Risks and Rewards of Israeli–Turkish Energy Cooperation,[5] Turkey–Israel Deal: A Key to Long-Term Reconciliation?[6] The Israel–Turkey Deal Could Benefit the Palestinians,[7] and Turkey and Israel: A Chronicle of Relations.[8] The Mitvim Institute's sixth annual Israeli–Turkish policy dialogue was held in Istanbul in October 2017. It focused on the state of Israel–Turkey relations following the reconciliation agreement signed by the two countries in June 2016, and on Turkey's foreign policy in light of the changing the Middle East. The policy dialogue, which was held in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, included a series of meetings with Turkish scholars, analysts, and journalists.[9]

Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean[edit]

Mitvim has partnerships and joint policy projects with civil society organizations in Europe and in the Eastern Mediterranean, and is leading an international working group on “New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean”, in cooperation with the EuroMeSCo Network. The working group focuses on energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, regional security and conflict resolution, the implications of the war in Syria, prospects for economic cooperation, relations with the EU, and challenges to democracy and civil society. The regional working group was officially launched at the EuroMeSCo annual conference in Barcelona.[10]

China's Palestinian–Israeli Peace Symposium[edit]

In 2017, two Mitvim experts, Dr. Ehud Eiran and Dr. Nimrod Goren, participated in the Palestinian–Israeli Peace Symposium held in Beijing under the auspices of China's Foreign Minister.[11] The symposium marked an effort by China to engage on Israeli–Palestinian peacemaking, and to bring together policy experts and leaders.[12][13]

Workshops[edit]

Mitvim conducts workshops led by local and international experts. Previous workshop topics include: how to make Israel's foreign policy more inclusive; US security guarantees as an incentive for peace; Israel–Turkey reconciliation; an Israeli–Palestinian roundtable on the French Peace Initiative; Israel-Lebanon relations; the European offer for a Special Privileged Partnership (SPP) as an incentive for peace; and policy learning from other conflicts to promote Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution.

Following the February 2017 incidents on the Israel–Syria border, Mitvim convened a policy workshop on how to prevent Israel-Iran escalation in Syria via diplomacy. Mitvim hosted Ofer Zalzberg from the International Crisis Group who presented a new comprehensive report[14] on the issue and discussed how different countries can help Israel promote its interests in Syria.

Conferences[edit]

Mitvim holds local and international conflicts on topics relating to its three program areas. Selected 2017 conferences include:

The Arab Peace Initiative at 15 Years – In 2017, Mitvim and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Leonard Davis Institute held an international conference titled The Arab Peace Initiative at 15 Years. The conference focused on the content of the Arab Peace Initiative (API) and its background, the current status of the API and Israel's recent policies and attitudes towards it, and the future of the API, including policy directions through which the API can advance the peace process. The conference closed with a keynote address by MK Tzipi Livni.[15] Nitzan Horowitz, "Arab Peace Initiative – The Greatest Missed Opportunity in Israel's History," Jerusalem Post, April 25, 2017 http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Arab-Peace-Initiative-the-greatest-missed-opportunity-in-Israels-history-488952

The Impact of the Conflict on Israel's Foreign Relations – Mitvim and the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations held a public panel event exploring the extent to which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects Israel's foreign relations in June 2017. summary of the discussion was published after the event.

New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean – Mitvim led this panel at the 2017 annual conference of the EuroMesSCo Network; participated by Dr. Nimrod Goren and Gabriel Mitchel of Mitvim, Muriel Asseburg of SWP (Germany), Thanos Dokos of ELIAMEP (Greece) and Michael Asiedu of Global Political Trends Center (Turkey).

Israel and International conflicts – What can be learned? – In April 2017, Mitvim and the Frances Brody Institute for Applied Diplomacy held a conference on lessons for Israeli – Palestinian peacemaking from other international conflict and assessing how Israel can cotribute to the resolution of other conflicts. The panel included content on Mitvim Policy Fellow Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin's work on conflict comparisons.

Lectures[edit]

Mitvim experts provide lectures to visiting groups from Europe and the United States. Mitvim runs an intensive summer course, Domestic and Regional Aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, for graduate students of Syracuse University's Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. The course includes a series of expert lectures and tours centered on the impact of social and political processes in Israel and the Middle East on the future of the peace process, as well as on US attempts to move the peace process forward. Mitvim experts also provide lectures to visiting groups from Europe and the United States.[16]

Publications[edit]

Mitvim regularly publishes policy papers and reports, and its experts provide commentary, interviews, and analysis in Israeli and international media outlets.

Research papers[edit]

A Pro-Peace Israeli Foreign Policy, by Yael Patir

A Multi-Regional Israeli Foreign Policy, by Yoav Stern

An Outward-Looking Israeli Foreign Policy, by Dr. Ehud Eiran and Mireille Surowicz

Lessons for Israel and Palestine from Conflict Comparisons, by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin

Commentaries[edit]

Mitvim publishes op-eds on a range of topics related to Israel, the Middle East, and European and American policies. Experts regularly engage with the media and provide radio, print, and television interviews and commentaries. All op-eds are published on Mitvim's website.

Policy papers[edit]

Several examples of Mitvim's policy papers include "Strengthening Israel's Foreign Service: Recommendations of a Mitvim Institute Task Team,"[17] Guiding Principles for a New Israeli Foreign Policy Paradigm – Recommendations of a Mitvim Institute Task-Team,[18] and "International Involvement towards Israeli–Palestinian Conflict Resolution, A policy paper submitted to the International Working Group to Advance Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking."[19]

Reports[edit]

Mitvim publishes two monthly reports relating to developments in the Middle East: US Policies towards Israel and the Middle East, and the Diplomatic Report (Hebrew).

Public opinion surveys[edit]

Please see Mitvim's Annual Foreign Policy Index and Public Opinion Polling.

Annual Foreign Policy Index and public opinion polling[edit]

Mitvim publishes an annual Israeli Foreign Policy Index. Since 2012, the poll has been carried out by the Rafi Smith Institute, and in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, among a representative sample of Israel's adult population (600 men and women, Jews and Arabs, aged 18 and above). The poll includes questions relating to five categories: The state of Israel's foreign policy, Israel among the nations, foreign policy priorities and bilateral relations, regional cooperation, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The 2017 Index included questions on the Israel-Arab relations, the impact of anti-democratic legislation on Israel's global standing, Palestinian reunification, US-Russian power projections in the Middle East, and the Iran nuclear deal. It received media attention.[20]

In addition to the Israeli Foreign Policy Index, Mitvim published in 2017 a poll on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Israel's Relations with the Middle East, Europe, and the US. The poll's findings were discussed in a workshop on the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel's foreign relations held by the Mitvim Institute and the Leonard Davis Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Annual conference[edit]

Mitvim held its first annual conference in Jerusalem, on November 1, 2017. The conference, titled "Opportunities for Israel's Foreign Relations Towards 2018," included a keynote address by Avi Gabbay, Chairman of the Labor Party and Zionist Union. This was Gabbay's first major speech on foreign policy, and it focused on how to improve Israel's foreign policy and foreign service.[21][22] During the conference, Mitvim released the findings of its 2017 Israeli Foreign Policy Index. The conference also featured a public panel on emerging opportunities for Israel's foreign relations in 2018 that included Yael Patir, Eran Etzion, Helit Barel, Dr. Thabet Abu Rass, and Prof. Elie Podeh.[23] Prior to the public panel, a closed-door roundtable discussion was held to discuss insights from Mitvim's research and policy work throughout the year. Former MK and Mitvim Board Member Colette Avital delivered at the conference a commemoration of the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Global Think Tanks Index, 2016 Global Think Tanks Index of UPENN. University of Pennsylvania https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.co.il/&httpsredir=1&article=1011&context=think_tanks. Retrieved 1/10/18
  2. ^ The Jerusalem Post: Lahav Harkov, "MKs Warn: Foreign Ministry Budget Cuts Would Result in Crisis for State" http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/MKs-warn-of-national-crisis-if-Foreign-Ministry-budget-cut-as-planned-536788
  3. ^ http://gpotcenter.org/dosyalar/GPoT_Mitvim_Series_O.Celikkol.pdf
  4. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/GPoT_Mitvim_Series_Arad.Nir_-_November_2016.pdf
  5. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Gabriel_Mitchell_-_The_risks_and_rewards_of_Israeli-Turkish_energy_cooperation.pdf
  6. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Selin_Nasi_-_The_Turkish-Israeli_Deal_-_Key_to_long-term_reconciliation_-_January_2017.pdf
  7. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Muhammed_Ammash_-_The_Israel-Turkey_Deal_Could_Benefit_the_Palestinians_-_February_2017.pdf
  8. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Alon_Liel_-_Turkey_and_Israel_-_A_Chronicle_of_Bilateral_Relations_-_February_2017.pdf
  9. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Insights_from_the_2017_Israel-Turkey_policy_dialogue_of_the_Mitvim_Institute_-_December_2017.pdf
  10. ^ IEMed: http://www.iemed.org/dossiers/dossiers-iemed/1/euromesco-conference-2017/speakers
  11. ^ Ha'aretz, China's Foreign Ministry Initiated Upcoming Israeli-Palestinian Meeting in Beijing. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/asia-and-australia/.premium-chinas-foreign-min-initiated-upcoming-israeli-palestinian-meet-in-beijing-1.5628931
  12. ^ The Jerusalem Post, "A Useful Wind from the East." http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/A-useful-wind-from-the-East-520341
  13. ^ Globes Opinion & Features: Chinese Option for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks: http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-chinese-option-for-israel-palestinian-peace-talks-1001221867
  14. ^ International Crisis Group Report: Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria: https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/syria/182-israel-hizbollah-and-iran-preventing-another-war-syria
  15. ^ "The Arab Peace Initiative at 15 Years," http://mitvim.org.il/images/The_Arab_Peace_Initiative_at_15_Years_-_Conference_Proceedings_-_July_2017.pdf
  16. ^ Syracuse University, http://insct.syr.edu/our-work/academicprograms/securityinthemiddleeast/graduatestudyabroad
  17. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Strengthening_Israeli_Foreign_Service_-_Recommendations_of_a_Mitvim_Institute_Task-Team_-_September_2017.pdf
  18. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Guiding_principles_for_a_new_Israeli_foreign_policy_paradigm_-_Mitvim_Institute.pdf
  19. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Mitvim_paper_for_MEPP_international_working_group_-_March_2017.pdf
  20. ^ The Jerusalem Post on findings from Mitvim's annual poll: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Poll-Most-Israelis-think-the-world-is-against-them-510997
  21. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Avi_Gabbay_at_Mitvims_annual_conference_-_1_November_2017.pdf
  22. ^ Times of Israel, https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-pro-settlement-comments-gabbay-reiterates-support-for-two-state-solution/
  23. ^ http://mitvim.org.il/images/Opportunities_for_Israels_foreign_relations_towards_2018_-_Panel_summary_-_2017_Mitvim_annual_conference.pdf