Prof. Meron Medzini
Meron Medzini was born in Jerusalem and educated in schools in Jerusalem and Haifa. After his military service in the IDF, he received his BA degree from City College in New York (1957), MA from Georgetown University (1960) and Ph. D from, Harvard (1964) where he specialized in Far East History and Languages. He began his teaching career at the Hebrew University in 1964 And since 1973 has been teaching courses on Israel at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University as an Adjunct Associate Professor. Between 1995 and 2014 he also taught courses on modern Japanese history in the Asian Studies Department of the Hebrew University. He also taught at Tel Aviv University and lectured in universities in China, Canada, Britain, Australia and the United States.
His recent publication was "Japan and the Jews During the Holocaust Era" (Academic Studies Press, 2016). The Hebrew version of his book "Golda-A :Political Biography" won the Prime Ministers Award in 2010. The English version is forthcoming in April 2017 by De Gruyter. He edited the 18 volume series Israel's Foreign Relations – Selected Documents 1947-2001 for the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He is the author of six books and scores of articles in publications in Israel and abroad.
He also pursued a government career and served as the Director of the Israel Government Press Office in Jerusalem from 1962 to 1978 and in that capacity was spokesman for the bureaus of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol (1966-1969), Golda Meir (1973-1974) and Yitzhak Rabin (1974-1975).
He also lectured at the IDF Staff and Command College and the IDF National Security College; was a political commentator on the Overseas Programs of the Israel Radio and wrote over 300 editorials for the Jerusalem Post.
In 2016 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Government for promoting Israel-Japan cultural relations.
He was appointed Associate Fellow of the Truman Institute in 2015 for two years. His main area of research deals with the question – Should Israel Tilt towards Asia?"
"Israel's Tilt towards Asia - Processes, Risks, Benefits"
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, its leaders strove to obtain friends and allies among the nations of the Asian continent (east of Iran) in order to bolster Israel's international standing, its legitimacy, to seek markets for its products sand sources of raw materials for its growing economy, to attempt and create a counter balance to its important ties with the United States and the nations of Western Europe, and perhaps even utilize the contacts with the rising powers of Asia, principally China, India and Japan to make use of their power and influence to advance an Israel-Arab peace. Another reason for the growing importance of Asia to Israel's foreign policy is the decline of America's standing in the Middle East and perhaps even globally and growing questions about its willingness and ability to play a meaningful role in promoting an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The research will focus on Israel's perception of Asia and its relations with its leading powers from 1948 to 1992, what brought about a change of perception and what action was taken to implement the new tilt. Finally, questions will be asked concerning the benefits involved and the risks that could be entailed in focusing more on Asia, and whether the Asian powers can really play a meaningful role in an Arab-Israeli peace process and reconciliation.