October 24th 2016

Israel, the Middle East and the world

H.E. Talya Lador-Fresher, Israeli ambassador in Austria

At a recent event organized by the Entrepreneurial School® as part of the MCI Alumni &Friends lecture series the audience had the opportunity to meet with the Israeli ambassador in Austria, H.E. Talya Lador-Fresher. In her speech, the ambassador, who sees herself as an honorary Tyrolean due to the large number of Tyroleans amongst her staff, discussed current affairs such as the effects of the Arab Spring, the perception of Israel in the world, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to the ambassador, the Arab Spring, which was meant to establish democracy, failed. She sees the reasons for this as related predominantly to the absence of a basic democratic attitude in Arabian countries. Whereas these attitudes and values have been a given for a long time in countries such as Austria, there is a lack of fundamental democratic values in these nations. Lador-Fresher sees a further reason for the failing of the Arab Spring in the prevailing belief in “tribal thinking”, according to which the people’s loyalties lie less with their country than with single groups.

In regard to the perception of Israel in the rest of the world, Lador-Fresher is convinced that the media shows a distorted image of her country, whereby Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East. She stated that the media can only depict Israel’s “here and now”. However, to better understand Israel’s position – particularly in the Arab-Israeli conflict – one must look into the country’s past, reaching as far back as the biblical ages.

In her speech, Lador-Fresher also raised the question of whether a two-state solution for the conflict between Jews and Arabs would ever be possible. Her personal answer to this question is a confident “yes”, even though the ambassador is certain that such a solution will be difficult to implement in the near future. As Lador-Fresher pointed out, for the Israeli Jews achieving peace with the Arabs does not have priority; what they want most is to gain stability. The ambassador, however, sees the achievement of this goal as a major challenge for both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The speech was hosted by MCI Rector Andreas Altmann, who also led the subsequent discussion.

>>> Einladung