David Sasson

David Sasson is the Senior Advisor for the Next Century Foundation and Founder of Israel's Forum for Peace with Syria. An Iraqi-Israeli businessman, Sasson was born in Baghdad. David participated in the activities of the student movement against the policies of the government and in 1948 he was arrested for taking part in an uprising (el-Wahba). After his family secured his freedom, he realised that the student movement had been successful in ensuring a changeover in government (as a result of the Portsmouth agreement between Iraq and Great Britain). The same year, Iraq declared war on Israel and a state of emergency imposed which prevented demonstrations. Despite this he continued his anti-war activity. As a result of his Jewish faith, David was denied access to university and prevented from owning a passport in line with Iraqi government policy at the time. He was forced to leave Iraq if he wished to study, and he fled to Iran in 1950, staying for a few months before emigrating to Israel.

Following the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, David returned to Tehran, where he established an import/export business with Kamal Adeen Bahbahani, son of Ayatollah Bahbahani until forced to leave during the Khomeini revolution of 1979. He returned to Israel and asked Israel's Foreign Minister to be allowed to become a private emissary to the Arab world. The Foreign Minister agreed, and David went to Egypt to meet with a senior contact at Al-Ahram. He was asked to set up permanent residence in Cairo by his Egyptian interlocutors (one of the first Israelis to do so), staying in the city between 1979 and 1983. There he promoted trade between Israel and Egypt.

David now lives in both Tel Aviv and London. In Israel he recently established the Forum for Peace with Syria. In London he helps coordinate the Iraq division of the Next Century Foundation.