Advocate of two-state solution in Mideast to speak in Bangor

Posted Nov. 08, 2010, at 1 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Yael Dayan, the 70-year-old chairwoman of the Tel Aviv City Council and daughter of the late Israeli Gen. Moshe Dayan, will speak 7 p.m. Wednesday at Congregation Beth Israel, 144 York St., on “Israel’s Future and the Urgency of Two States.”

Dayan is a proponent of forming a Palestinian state alongside Israel, ending military occupation and evacuating settlements, according to newspaper accounts of her previous visits to the United States.

“We are still building a society” in Israel, she told a group in Danville, Calif., in May. “We are still based on human values, on human rights, on Jewish values — traditional and modern.”

A writer and journalist, Dayan was elected a Labor Party member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in 1992. In 1993, she became the first member of the Knesset to meet with Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Dayan has been an advocate of equal rights for women as well as gay and lesbian rights. She also advocates for a secular government in Israel.

“You don’t have real democracies where you don’t have separation” between the state and the Jewish religion, she said earlier this year.

During Tel Aviv’s centennial celebration last year, Dayan told The Associated Press that the nation should be more like the city.

“Tel Aviv is the model for what Israel needs to be,” she said. “Jerusalem is not a city, it’s a symbol, it’s a place people are leaving. We are the exact opposite. We are a city of live-and-let-live.”

Dayan’s speech is being sponsored by J Street Eastern Maine, the local chapter of the nonprofit J Street based in Washington, D.C.

Established in 2008, the organization describes itself as the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. It merged last year with Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, a similar organization with many of the same goals.

The group has its own political action committee, which raises money for candidates who support its positions. It also has an arm devoted to education on the issue.

“J Street was founded to change the dynamics of American politics and policy on Israel and the Middle East,” according to information on its website. “We believe the security and future of Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people depend on rapidly achieving a two-state solution and regional comprehensive peace.”

For information about Dayan’s Bangor speech, call 945-3433.

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