In 1994, Yossi Beilin, then Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, first proposed a program which would offer Diaspora Jews the opportunity to visit Israel at no charge. Now known throughout the world as "Birthright," Dr. Beilin's vision has brought nearly 300,000 young Jews to Israel, forever altering the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. Yet despite Birthright's subsequent overwhelming success, the program was initially highly controversial both in Israel and abroad. In his latest book, "Birthright: The True Story" (ISBN 1456452606), Dr. Beilin recounts how he persuaded the Jewish establishment to come to understand the necessity of the Birthright program and fully endorse it. Placing the story of Birthright's inception in the context of the tumultuous events of the mid 1990s, Dr. Beilin mixes elements of documentary and memoir to offer a window into the annals of Israeli politics and diplomacy.
In 'Path to Geneva', Beilin takes us from the early days of the secret Oslo talks through the recent crises and new developments in Israel and Palestine. This book highlights his intensive and historic meetings with President Clinton, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres, Hosni Mubarek, King Hussein of Jordan and Madeleine Albright, as well as Beilin’s crucial connections with such seminal Arab leaders as Yassir Arafat, Saeb Erikot, Faisal Husseini and the first prime minister of “Palestine,” Abu Mazen. The Beilin-Mazen agreements are the basis of the current “road map” to Middle East peace.
The reader is carried with Beilin to Bill Clinton’s Oval Office, Mubarek’s Cairo, Hussein’s Amman, and many other centers of global power—becoming privy to historic encounters and the surprising details of those negotiations, both public and secret.
In Path, we learn how Beilin came to be this world leader in search of peace, how he overcame all the inherent difficulties, how he interfaced with world leaders and how he sees a solution to this ancient problem that creates a fair resolution for all sides.
In His Brother's Keeper, Yossi Beilin, Israel's outspoken Minister of Justice, offers a bold prescription for renewing and enriching Jewish life in the twenty-first century. Viewing the status quo as the greatest enemy of the Jewish people, Beilin challenges the notion that there is nothing to be done about the shrinking number of Jews in the world or the growing gap between Israel and the Diaspora communities. Beilin's approach calls for a new partnership of equals between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. The goal, he explains, is to strengthen Jewish identity now so that future generations will have a viable tradition to pass along to their children. Beilin was the initiator of the Birthright program, which aims to bring thousands of Jewish teenagers on fully subsidized trips to Israel in the hope of awakening within them an interest in learning about their Jewish roots.
Among Beilin's other suggestions for creating a world-wide Jewish community are recognizing "secular conversions" as a point of entry into the Jewish people, radically overhauling existing Jewish institutions and, in a new era of peace, redirecting Israel's historic sense of mission by providing assistance to Third World countries, in cooperation with the Diaspora.
Timely, provocative, powerfully reasoned and argued, His Brother's Keeper will be widely read and passionately debated.
In Touching Peace Yossi Beilin, the initiator of the Oslo peace process, provides a riveting inside account of the secret talks that broke all the official rules and led, sixteen months later, to the famous handshake in September 1993 between Rabin and Arafat on the White House lawn. He describes the subsequent Stockholm dialogue, which came to a promising conclusion just five days before Rabin's assassination and reveals details of the unofficial - and yet to be implemented - understanding reached with PLO Deputy Abu Mazen on the content of a final peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The concluding part of this book addresses the all-important, and for Israelis unfamiliar, question of how to live in peace: Israeli nationalism and foreign policy, Israel as part of the Jewish world, electoral reform, religion and the state, the Arabs of Israel, and other topics.
A senior figure in Israel's Labour Party, an intellectual as well as a man of action, Yossi Beilin reveals in this book his own creative and passionate commitment to a settlement in the Middle East. This is the story of risks taken and opportunities grasped, in pursuit of the holy grail of Middle Eastern politics of the late twentieth century: a lasting peace between Jews and Arabs.
This book tells the story of Israel's development since its foundation, and of the central issues which have preoccupied it - as seen by someone who has observed Israel's government from both inside and outside. After a historical review of the Zionist movement, Yossi Beilin describes the economic and political milestones of the state of Israel, the structure of government, the separation of powers, and the changing agenda of politics. He examines the symbols, myths and taboos that make up the political culture of the country; the importance of the pioneer and the idea of sacrifice; the struggle to establish the Hebrew language; the huge shadow of national security and the Arab-Israeli conflict; the influence of the small ultra-religious parties. He looks at the contrast between the security, prosperity and prestige which Israel enjoyed between 1957 and 1967, and the intractable problems which followed Israel's overwhelming victory in the Six Day War. Finally he looks at the growing importance of political lobbies and pressure groups and the different elites - economic, political, military, cultural and rabbinical. This is an indispensable survey of one of the most extraordinary countries in the world.
Books Published in Hebrew
Manual for a Wounded Dove
In this book, which contains self-criticism and an honest, detailed and fascinating description of Israeli policy from 1996 to 2001, Yossi Beilin explains the critical elements that led to the tough crisis in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Beilin does not settle for blaming Arafat for taking advantage of the outbreak of the Intifada and not putting an end to it immediately; he presents Binyamin Netanyahu as the one who did everything he could to prevent the implementation of the Oslo agreement to which he had committed himself and counts the mistakes of Barak on the way to Camp David and after that miserable summit. Aside from analyzing the crisis, it is a book of hope that speaks to "wounded doves" - and not only to them - and suggests a way back to sanity, to political negotiations and the cessation of violence. The book contains the first disclosure of suggestions and proposals that were presented during the negotiations, of a closed envelope with an interim agreement that Barak refused to take to Camp David, and other revelations.
The Death of the American Uncle
This book seeks to address Israel - Diaspora relations in a revealing and direct manner, to do some soul-searching about the serious errors made, and to offer some suggestions to no doubt stimulate a long debate – such as the proposal to hold secular conversion to Judaism.
Yossi Beilin describes himself as an agent of change, and has indeed dictated the agenda of Israeli society more than anyone else in the last decade. He initiated the Oslo process and reached complete understandings with Abu-Mazen regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians and was the only Israeli minister who closed the office which he headed. He led the movement to withdraw from Lebanon, the change in election law, and convinced American Jews to endorse his plan to bring young Jews to Israel.
If these concrete proposals are accepted, they may cause a shift in the complex relationship between Israel and other Jewish communities around the world.
Talks with Yossi Beilin (by Shayke Ben-Porat)
Shayke Ben-Porat's conversations with Yossi Beilin are held on two planes. The one is an intimate one that reveals the ground on which he grew and his personal and intellectual development. The other touches on central problems on Israel's national agenda.
The book is not intended as a comprehensive biography nor even as a whole and concise antipasti. Its purpose is to bring one of the most prominent policy makers in the young generation to the public, and to stimulate thought and dealing with issues that will significantly influence the future of Israel.
Israel—40 Plus: A Political Profile of Israeli Society in the 90's
In this paper, the fourth of his books, the author presents a broad picture of society and the problems on its agenda, the way it takes decisions and the character of decision makers. This is not a situational analysis but an album of photos which, while thumbing through, clearly points to changes in society since the founding of the state, both in terms of pressing issues, pressures the government faces and the factors upon which decisions are based.
Beilin confronts many myths and taboos. He reveals another face of the Elite settlement – a side which the political literature has preferred to ignore; whereas he presents the results of the Six Day War, which Israel has enforced, as the greatest curse facing Israeli society. He describes the relationship between political decision makers and army generals, details the changes in the ultra-Orthodox world and reasons for its growing political influence, and reveals the ways in which various lobbies manage to reach policy makers.
This is not a Memoir, although the author, born in Hebrew year Tashach (1948), scans the story of the state from a personal standpoint. This is not a political or sociological reader, despite the fact that the examination of events is based on these sciences. It is not an ideological book, although the author does not hide his personal views: the need for exploiting political opportunity to hold open negotiations with the Palestinians, a call to dramatically change the structure of the labor movement, opposition to political ties with ostracized countries, etc. This is a special attempt to observe the development of Israel from the viewpoint of a participant who both criticizes and loves.
In the book's introduction interview, the author, initiator of the 1993 "Oslo Accords," talks honestly and without falter about contemplations, intentions, developments, sudden twists, back scene decisive moments and a broad vision about the future of the country.
Sons in the Shadows of their Fathers
This book deals with the struggle between different generations regarding Israeli politics, as expressed in the 1950's in the Israel Workers Party ("Mapai"), The United Workers Party ("Mapam") and the "General Zionists". The book reveals the roots of decade-long political friendships that emerged in the state's early years, and on the other hand, the rivalries that became evident in the 1970's and '80's.The author believes that the political struggles and conflicts between the founding generation and the younger generation that grew in their shadow, have greatly shaped the character of our political system.
Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres with Zalman Aran, Mordechai Namir and Golda Meir of "Mapai"; Dov Zakin, Elazar Granot and Ephraim Reiner with Ya'akov Hazan and Meir Ya'ari of "Mapam", Gideon Patt, Yedidia Bari and Abraham Katz with Yosef Sapir, Yosef Serlin and Simha Erlich of the "General Zionists"- all of them formed friendships and rivalries which accompanied the adults and youth of the 1950's throughout their political life.
ספר זה עוסק במאבקים בין דורות שונים בפוליטיקה הישראלית, כפי שבאו לידי ביטוי בשנות החמישים במפא"י, במפ"ם וב"ציונים הכלליים". הספר חושף את שרשיהן של חברויות פוליטיות אשר צמחו בשנות המדינה הראשונות ונשמרו עשרות שנים, ולעומתן – יריבויות שנתנו אותותיהן בשנות ה-70' וה-80'.
המחבר סבור כי המאבקים והחיכוכים בין דור המייסדים בפוליטיקה הישראלית ובין הדור הצעיר אשר צמח בצילם, הם אשר עיצבו במידה רבה את דמותה של המערכת הפוליטית שלנו.
משה דיין ושמעון פרס מול זלמן ארן, מרדכי נמיר וגולדה מאיר במפא"י; דב זכין, אלעזר גרנות ואפרים ריינר מול יעקב חזן ומאיר יערי במפ"ם; גדעון פת, ידידיה בארי ואברהם כץ מול יוסף ספיר, יוסף סרלין ושמחה ארליך ב"ציונים הכלליים" – כל אלה גיבשו חברויות ושנאות אשר ליוו את המבוגרים של שנות החמישים ואת צעירי שנות החמישים לאורך כל דרכם הפוליטית.