Beilin, Joseph (Yossi)

(1948- )
   Born in Petah Tikva, he earned a Ph.D. in political science at Tel Aviv University. While working as a reporter for Davar, he met and impressed Shimon Peres, who hired him to be Israel Labor Party spokesman. As deputy foreign minister, he was involved in the secret Israeli talks in Oslo with Palestinian officials in the spring and summer of 1993, which culminated in the Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization Declaration of Principles. In 1995, he conducted a series of secret talks with Palestinian official Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) on the framework for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian settlement. He sought the leadership of the Labor Party in 1997 but was defeated by former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Ehud Barak. On 17 May 1999, Beilin was re-elected to the 15th Knesset on the Labor-One Israel list. He was appointed justice minister in the governing coalition headed by Barak; from August 2000 until March 2001, he also held the religious affairs portfolio. On 31 March 2004, Beilin was elected leader of Yahad-Social Democratic Israel, a new left-wing Zionist political party formed out of the reconstituted Meretz faction. Under his leadership, the party won only five seats in the March 2006 Knesset election.
   In December 2003, he headed the Israeli contingent of private notables that, with their Palestinian counterparts headed by former Palestinian Authority minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, published the "Geneva Initiative" formula for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In December 2007, Beilin announced that he would not contest reelection as Yahad party leader. Beilin is the author of several books, including Touching Peace: From the Oslo Accords to a Final Agreement, His Brother's Keeper, and Manual for a Wounded Dove.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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