On the 20th November 2019, Forward Thinking, in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre, organised a conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. The focus of the evening was to reflect on Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s legacy of making peace and exploring the historical and contemporary experiences of conflict and negotiation. The conference was attended by delegates who have previously travelled on Forward Thinking delegations to Belfast and Dublin to explore the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Attendees included senior figures across the Israeli political spectrum- from Likud to the Labor party, in addition to a representative from the Egyptian Embassy.
Guest speakers included Elyakim Rubinstein a former Attorney General of Israel, who also served as Vice President of the Supreme Court, and played an influential and key role in helping establish the 1979 peace treaty. He provided personal insights on his diplomatic career which spanned several significant bilateral treaties with countries in the region.
The Irish Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Kyle O’Sullivan, in addition to Richard Bullick, former Special Advisor to the First Minister in Northern Ireland shared their reflections on the conflict experience in Northern Ireland, the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement and the challenge facing a post-conflict society.
A panel discussion was also held and speakers represented political leaders from the Likud, Labour party and the Ultra Orthodox community. The panellists shared their own unique experiences of travelling to and learning about the conflict in Northern Ireland.
As a follow up from the conference those who attended were committed to maintaining and strengthening the dialogue and to keep exploring pathways for ending conflict in the region.