Yair Hirschfeld, Ph.D., is the Isaac and Mildred Brochstein Fellow in Middle East Peace and Security in Honor of Yitzhak Rabin at the Baker Institute. Hirschfeld is currently teaching at the University of Haifa in the Department of Middle Eastern History. He is also the director general of the Tel Aviv-based Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF).
The ECF aims to develop a comprehensive strategy toward regional peacemaking and reconciliation by pursuing policy planning on issues of permanent status and by developing concepts, strategies and implementation designs supporting Israeli-Arab (Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian) cooperation and coordination in political, economic and social spheres. Under the auspices of the institute’s Conflict Resolution Program, Hirschfeld participates in the Baker Institute’s Israeli-Palestinian Working Group, both at the institute and in the Middle East. In December 1992, Hirschfeld created the Oslo Channel and headed its Israeli team until May 1993.
Having developed bridging concepts and obtained support from the Israeli government as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization, the unofficial track became official May 20, 1993, when Hirschfeld joined the official Israeli negotiating team. From 1994 to 1995, Hirschfeld was a member of the Israeli team that prepared the first Israeli-Palestinian blueprint for the Permanent Status Agreement, which has become known as the “Beilin-Abu Mazen Understanding.”