The Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan, spoke at UC Irvine on Thursday, Feb. 28, about the major global changes that affect the Middle East and the rest of the world. Dayan’s talk described the difficulties of achieving a two-state solution due to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, the overemphasis on religious conflicts and the international community’s fear of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Co-sponsors of the event included Anteaters for Israel (AFI) Hillel: The Jewish Student Union, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Epsilon Phi, along with other Jewish community organizations. Dayan plays the role of the senior representative of the State of Israel in the southwestern United States. In the past he held executive positions in foreign affairs, serving as the chief of staff to two ministers of foreign affairs. Dayan was also the policy advisor to the minister of foreign affairs involving the United States, Asia, East Europe and the Middle East.
After the presidents of the various student organizations welcomed the audience and gave opening remarks, Isaac Yerushalmi, president of AFI and a third-year economics and political science double-major, introduced the consul general.
Dayan began his presentation by addressing the increasing number of organizations, such as Hamas and al-Qaeda, which are confronting the state of Israel. To break the ice, Dayan used a pop-culture example, referring to the 1964 James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger,’ in which one organization covertly attempted to disrupt the world economy by seizing the U.S. money supply.
The second position Dayan took was that there are two major camps in the Muslim world: secular nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism. Dayan asserted that the goal of Islamic fundamentalist groups is to reach a one-state solution, contrary to his belief in a two-state solution.
‘We must maintain this as a secular national conflict, not a religious one,’ Dayan said. ‘On a national level, things can be manageable.’ Dayan claimed that some Arab countries are not ‘frightened by proliferation [of the conflict],’ but rather, by the success of an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians ‘because radicals say Jews are not there to stay; they’re a point in history like the crusaders.’
Dayan also stated that, in order to secure the existence of Israel, Iran
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