Naomi Chazan Biography
Naomi Chazan presents one of the clearest and most unwavering voices in support of social and political justice in the State of Israel today. While the past 15 years in Israel have been marked by tremendous upheaval, Chazan has challenged Israel to pursue a negotiated resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict through periods of profound hope and desperation alike. For Chazan, this pursuit is a matter not of political expedience or necessity alone, but is also pivotal to the realization of the principles of freedom, justice and equality upon which Israel was founded.
Chazan's career in activism has spanned 30 years and has involved the spheres of government, civil society and academia.
Chazan is best known for her ten years in the Knesset as one of Meretz Party's most effective legislators. She was first elected to the Knesset in 1992. She served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Chairperson of the Committee to Combat Drug Abuse, and as a member of the committees on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Economics, the Advancement of the Status of Woman and Immigration and Absorption among others.
Chazan is also a Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the former chair of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. Her area of expertise is African Studies and she has written 8 books and 53 articles on the subject. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and the University of Ife in Nigeria and has served as the vice-president of the International Political Science Association.
One of Chazan's abiding passions throughout her career has been for advancing the status of women in Israel. In 1984, she co-founded the Israel Women's Network and, in 1989, the Israel Women's Peace Net. She is particularly concerned with the impact of the persistent militarism of the Occupation in stymieing the advancement of women in Israel and is one of the most visible leaders of the Women's Peace Movement. She also served as a member of the Israeli Delegation to UN Conference on Women in Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995).
Chazan lives in Jerusalem with her son and her daughter.