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Israel Council on Foreign Relations

The Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) is an independent, non-partisan forum for the study and debate of foreign policy issues, especially those relating to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The ICFR publishes a triannual policy and scholarly journal, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, which offers a platform for the discussion and analysis of international affairs. The ICFR operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, of which Ronald S. Lauder is president.[1][2]

Israel Council on Foreign Relations
This is the logo of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations.jpg
FounderDavid Kimche
TypePublic policy think tank
Dan Meridor


ICFR was founded in 1989 by David Kimche (1928–2010), a former deputy-director of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, who later served as director general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador-at-large.[3] The Israel Council on Foreign Relations is dedicated to the examination of international affairs, with special emphasis on world Jewish concerns and Israeli foreign policy. Based on the models of the New York Council on Foreign Relations and the British Chatham House, the Council is not affiliated with any governmental or academic institutions. It is an autonomous body maintaining a non-partisan approach to foreign policy matters, and accommodating a broad range of viewpoints.[1] Participants in the Council come from a wide cross-section of the most influential spheres of Israeli society, including government and Knesset officials, university professors, and leading businessmen, bankers, lawyers, and journalists.[4] The Council functions under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, of which ambassador Ronald S. Lauder is president. The Council hosts speakers from around the world, including heads of state, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other distinguished visitors. As well, the council hosts conferences, seminars, and a monthly European-Israeli Young Diplomats' Forum.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder speaking at ICFR event "The Middle East Vortex: Views from Washington, Moscow and Berlin"


According to the ICFR's website, "The Council is an independent, multidisciplinary institution, established on the model of the New York Council on Foreign Relations and the British Chatham House. The Council aspires to stimulate public awareness of world events and insightful discussion of foreign policy issues, particularly regarding Israel and the Middle East. As such, it accommodates a broad range of viewpoints."[5]


The Israel Council on Foreign Relations publishes a tri-annual journal called the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, which has been called "one of the best publications in the field."[6] It focuses specifically on issues of international relations most pertinent to Israel and the Jewish people, and attracts the writing of leading authorities and statesmen from Israel and abroad.

In addition, the ICFR provides a forum for visiting dignitaries, diplomats, scholars, journalists and business leaders who seek a non-governmental platform in which to present and discuss their views.[1] In recent years, guest lecturers have included the Secretary-General of the UN, presidents, prime Ministers, foreign ministers, ambassadors, and mayors.[7] The transcripts of these lectures are often published in the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. In one of these lectures, Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu announced on the eve of Likud's election victory in April 1996, his intention to pursue the negotiation process set forth in the Oslo agreements and respect facts on the ground.[8]

The council also holds regular conferences and seminars on various foreign policy issues, including an annual symposium on the Middle East in memory of ICFR founder, David Kimche.[9] The transcripts of such lectures are often published in the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs.

In 2011 the ICFR launched the European-Israeli Young Diplomats' Forum,[10] a series of monthly policy talks which enable Israeli and European diplomats posted in Israel to exchange ideas on issues of common interest through policy talks. The Forum is sponsored by the European Delegation to Israel,[11] the German Konrad Adenauer and Heinrich Böll foundations, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various European embassies in Tel Aviv, including those of Poland, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway and Sweden.[11]

The ICFR also cooperates with other councils on foreign relations, including the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), and the Institute of International Politics and Economics in Serbia.

The Late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin speaking at ICFR event

Board of directorsEdit

  • Founder: David Kimche (1928–2010)
  • President: Dan Meridor[12]
  • President emeritus: Avi Primor[12]
  • Director: Laurence Weinbaum
  • Associate Director: Yvette Shumacher


  1. ^ a b c "Israel Council on Foreign Relations About Page". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  2. ^ "Ronald S. Lauder". World Jewish Congress. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  3. ^ Isabel Kershner (March 9, 2010). "David Kimche, an Israeli Adept as Spy and Diplomat, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Israel Council on Foreign Relations Recent Lecturers". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  5. ^ "Israel Council on Foreign Relations About Page". Archived from the original on 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-06-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Cashman, Greer Fay. "Grapevine." The Jerusalem Post 18 June 2014: 16. Print.
  7. ^ Kimche, David. The Israel Council on Foreign Relations Progress Report (2001): 1-34. Print.
  8. ^ Sarah Honig, "Netanyahu: We'll continue peace process," Jerusalem Post (April 22, 1996).
  9. ^ Hamerman, Joshua. "Experts discuss uncertain future of a changing Middle East | JPost | Israel News". JPost. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  10. ^ "European Union - EEAS (European External Action Service) | Israeli–European Young Diplomats Forum to be launched at Residence of European Union Ambassador". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  11. ^ a b "European Union - EEAS (European External Action Service) | European Union (EU) - Delegation of the European Union to Israel". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  12. ^ a b Former Israeli government minister Dan Meridor named new head of Israel Council on Foreign Relations, World Jewish Congress website, 8 September 2014

External linksEdit