BEILIN, YOSSI


BEILIN, YOSSI
BEILIN, YOSSI (1948– ), Israeli politician and political scientist. Member of the Twelfth to Fifteenth Knessets. Beilin was born in Petaḥ Tikvah. He received his Ph.D. in political science at Tel Aviv University and taught there in 1972–85. In 1977–84 he served as the spokesman of the israel labor party and was part of the entourage of the Party Chairman, shimon peres . When Peres served as prime minister in the National Unity Government in 1984–86, Beilin served as government secretary. In the following two years, after Peres became minister for foreign affairs, Beilin served as political director general at the ministry, making efforts to cool Israel's relations with South Africa, which still followed a policy of apartheid, and to establish relations with the African National Congress. Within the Labor Party he formed the dovish Mashov Circle. He was elected to the Twelfth Knesset and, until the Labor Party left the National Unity Government, served under Peres as deputy minister of finance. In this capacity he expressed his opinion that only the needy, and not the whole population, should receive child suppport and other allowances from the state, provoking severe criticism within the party. He was also criticized for statements about the expected level of unemployment, which proved to be conservative. When yitzhak rabin formed his government in 1992, Beilin once again followed Peres to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as his deputy. At this time he was one of the initiators of what came to be known as the Oslo Process with two colleagues – Dr. Ya'ir Hirschfeld and Dr. Ron Pundak. When he was convinced of the seriousness of the negotiations with the Palestinians, he approached both Peres and Rabin, who agreed to upgrade the talks, though until the end of August 1993 the talks were kept secret from the public. In June 1995 Beilin was appointed minister of economics and planning. After Rabin's assassination, when Peres became prime pinister, Beilin brought about the dismantlement of the Ministry of Economics and Planning, which he thought was superfluous, and was appointed minister in the Prime Minister's Office. Three days before Rabin's assassination Beilin concluded with the Palestinian politician Maḥmud Abbas (known as Abu-Ma'azen), who was later to become prime minister, a document that outlined the parameters of a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The document, which was published by Haaretz, spoke of the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in 90% of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with its capital in the Arab neighborhood of Abu-Dis, east of Jerusalem. Peres rejected the document, because he believed it would be harmful to the Labor Party in the forthcoming elections. In June 1997 Beilin contested the leadership of the Labor Party, but lost to ehud barak , receiving 28.5% of the party vote. In the government formed by Barak after the elections to the Fifteenth Knesset, he was appointed minister of justice. He resigned from the Knesset in November 1999, to enable the next member on the Labor list to enter the Knesset. After Shas left the government, he also assumed the portfolio for religious   affairs. After failing to receive a realistic place in the Labor list for the Sixteenth Knesset, Beilin, together with yael dayan , joined the Meretz list, but when Meretz received only six seats, he failed to enter the Knesset. With Palestinian leader Yasser Abed Rabbo, Beilin started to work on a new peace document that came to be known as the Geneva Initiative, signed in Geneva under the auspices of Swtizerland on December 1, 2003. On March 16, 2004, Beilin won the election for leadership of Meretz (which changed its name to "Yaḥad and the Democratic Choice") against MK Ran Cohen. The following of his books have appeared in English: Israel: A Concise Political History (1993); Touching Peace (1999); Dispatches from Palestine: The Rise and Fall of the Oslo Agreement (1999); His Brother's Keeper: Israel and Diaspora Jewry in the Twenty-First Century (2000); Manual for a Wounded Dove (2003); The Path to Geneva: The Quest for a Permanent Agreement, 1996–2004 (2004). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Ben-Porat, Siḥot im Yossi Beilin ("Talks with Yossi Beilin," 1997). (Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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