In conversation with Ehud Barak

The former prime minister of Israel discusses his country’s political outlook and foreign policy priorities.

Members event, Panel Recording
27 March 2023 — 12:00PM TO 1:00PM
Chatham House and Online

In conversation with Ehud Barak

— The former prime minister of Israel discusses his country's political outlook and foreign policy priorities.

On the eve of its 75th independence anniversary, Israel is at a critical crossroads. Weeks of long, intense protests surrounding judicial reforms pursued by the current government have widened the debate over the role played by the, so far independent, judiciary, notably the Supreme Court.

Supporters on both sides of the argument are fighting over different visions of Israel – a true liberal-democracy, or a much-reduced version of a democratic system. Whichever side of the argument people fall, the debate symbolizes tension in Israel’s society and decline in trust of its political and constitutional institutions.

Abroad, the situation remains intricate. Israel-Iran relations remain on a knife edge while the Abraham Accords normalized relations with parts of the Gulf. Then there are the continual issues surrounding relations with the Palestinians and their right to self-determination and statehood.

Old international challenges are now rubbing up against the new. Israel is part of a changing power dynamic in the Middle East, the result of a much-reduced US footprint. Furthermore, it must now contend with the other global superpower in China and continue to work on its response to the war in Ukraine.

Amid its domestic struggle to maintain its democratic character, fast-moving regional and international developments are in need of addressing. Friends and allies are deeply concerned with the country’s constitutional crisis, potentially re-evaluating their relations with the Jewish state.

Former prime minister of Israel Ehud Barak lays out his views on the complexities of domestic and international challenges facing Israel today.

Questions covered include:

  • What are the main root causes of the current constitutional crisis, and how could it be best resolved?

  • Could the current situation lead to a breakdown of the political system, even widespread violence?

  • How could the current circumstances in Israel and Palestine affect relations between the two and any prospect for peace negotiations?

  • How will US-Israel relations stand up against China’s influence in the region?

  • What is Israel’s interpretation of the war in Ukraine and how is the country affected?

As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.

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