Andrew Lyman Examines Israeli Foreign Policy with Mitvim

As part of the Atlantis Transatlantic Degree Program, Andrew Lyman will graduate with dual degrees from two leading global institutions. He will complete a Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) degree at the Maxwell School in Syracuse University and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Living in Israel this past summer, Andrew completed the Counterterrorism Studies Program, sponsored by Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, as well as a graduate internship with Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies.

Andrew Lyman coming across sheep on a mountain while hiking in the Judaean Desert.

The Israeli-Arab conflict continues to affect Israel’s ability to enact effective foreign policies within both the Middle East and the broader international community. Israel and its foreign policies have been, and continue to be, rooted in military doctrine. This has left the country isolated within its region and under immense international scrutiny. Further, Israel is becoming increasingly conservative and nationalistic. To address these issues, Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies was founded to promote positive change in Israel’s foreign policies and to further the Israeli-Arab peace process. Mitvim seeks to improve Israel’s global standing by working with top innovative thinkers in Israel and abroad to promote progressive foreign policies. I was fortunate enough to spend this past summer living in Israel and working with Mitvim under the direction of Dr. Nimrod Goren, who is both the founder and head of Mitvim.

Dr. Goren tasked me with identifying ways in which the Israeli government could deal with foreign policies more effectively. To combat the issues of increasing conservatism and nationalism, Israel needs to examine strategies for bolstering the effectiveness of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This reinforcement must include tools for vetting problems through a diplomatic, policy-oriented lens – shifting away from Israel’s inward-looking culture is key to Israel’s diplomatic success. One such method for facilitating this change would be the creation of a non-partisan and non-compensatory foreign policy review board. This policy board would operate independent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and would act in an advisory capacity for the Minister.

My research and the recommended board were partly modeled off of the United States’ Department of State Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which seeks to give the Secretary of State impartial foreign policy advice. A policy review board is just one opportunity out of many for Israel to increase the effectiveness of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and further constructive diplomatic relations.

Dr. Goren, Mitvim, and the Knesset Lobby for Strengthening Israel’s Foreign Affairs System convened a special conference at the Israeli parliament on December 28th. Members of Knesset, diplomats, experts, and journalists attended the conference. It focused on mapping the key problems faced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offering solutions and recommendations, and debating the importance of a strong Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Israel’s foreign policy and national security. My research on the instatement of a policy board was presented at the conference, alongside a number of vital recommendations for improving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I hope to have the opportunity to work with Mitvim and Dr. Goren in the future to promote Middle Eastern solidarity and the progression of Israel’s foreign policies.

For more information on Mitvim, please visit their website at: www.mitvim.org.il

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Andrew Lyman and his co-workers are having a constructive and pleasant conversation

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Andrew Lyman sailing on the Mediterranean