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September 17, 2019
10:00 am - 11:30 am


Middle East Institute
1763 N Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to present a panel hosted in partnership with the Foundation for Middle East Peace and the New Israel Fund to discuss how minority rights have factored into Israeli parliamentary elections in 2019, both the first election in April and the snap elections taking place on September 17th. Like the first election, this second round of votes again systematically ignored issues facing Israel's minority communities, including Palestinian citizens of Israel and Bedouin communities living in the Negev. This panel will discuss those issues and examine how Israel's major political parties and its leaders have treated minority communities on the campaign trail.

This event is part of the George and Rhonda Salem Family Foundation Lecture Series. 


The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to sponsor this event in conjunction with the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP).


Speaker Biographies: 

Ayesha Ziadna is the Director of Sabeel Leadership Institute of the Arab-Jewish Center for Empowerment, Equality, and Cooperation Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Economic Development (AJEEC NISPED). The Institute aims to build young local leadership and social initiatives that promote social change lead by Bedouin youth in the Negev.  Before joining AJEEC, she served as the Advocacy Coordinator at the Negev Coexistence Forum and as Director of Unistream, an organization supporting business and social entrepreneurship.  Ms. Ziadna taught English at a high school in Rafat and hails from Namile, an unrecognized Bedouin village in the northern Negev.  She holds a BA in English Literature from Achva College.

Tal Avrech joined the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF)  in 2018 and is currently responsible for international relations and NCF’s head researcher. She is an International advocacy and research professional with experience addressing conflict resolution and related governance challenges from multiple perspectives (diplomatic, political, community, public administration, and academic). Tal received her M.A in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen’s University, Belfast, and has a B.A in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya. In the past, Tal volunteered with indigenous communities in Guatemala; she worked for the Israeli Mission to UNOG; the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). As a student, Tal volunteered with various peace NGOs in Israel/Palestine and worked on various research projects in the Middle East and in Northern Ireland.  

Harry Reis is the Director for Policy and Strategy at the New Israel Fund, where he leads NIF policy planning, shaping NIF’s positioning on public policy issues and designing strategies towards achieving those aims. Prior to joining NIF, Harry served as Special Assistant to the CEO of ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt. Harry worked with Ambassador Dennis Ross as Research Associate at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, supporting his research on the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Harry’s policy portfolio included Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the P5+1 negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. He is a member of the ROI Community of the Schusterman Foundation, and was awarded a Dorot Fellowship in Israel 2017-18. Harry graduated with a B.A. in History from Brown University and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Lara Friedman (moderator) is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.


Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images.