Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gabriela Shalev - UCLA Israel Studies

The new ambassador for Israel to the UN was the guest of the UCLA institute of Israel Studies. She gave a lecture that was broadcast in the series of the Israel studies podcast.

The gathering starts with a lengthy introduction for the new ambassador, ms. Gabriella Shalev. She fulfilled a large variety of public functions in Israel and was a leading professor in civil law, until she was appointed to this post at the UN. There is both room to be impressed and room for doubt: where is her international and her diplomatic experience? It is a point that sticks with the listener and does not come out too well. She admits to be learning on the job and relates a couple of lessons she picked up, which, in my humble opinion, make her come out frighteningly naive. Too naive to be put on such a high function, to go and learn as you go. Israel, the UN and the world deserve better.

What remains to be impressed about is the rise of women in Israeli politics. Not only is Shalev Israel's ambassador to the UN. The president of the Israeli Supreme Court is justice Dorit Beinish, the president of the Knesset is Dalia Itzik and at the time of the lecture, Tzipi Livni was still trying to build a new government in place of Olmert. That is all nice and indeed these are very capable women, but Shalev is likely to be that more within Israel as leading legal professional than as a diplomatic experiment.

Previously about UCLA Israel studies podcast:
Galia Golan, Aaron David Miller,
Shimon Shamir.

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