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 Some of Israel’s brightest young diplomats gathered at the Yachad Modi’in High School on Sunday, passing a number of resolutions promoting women’s rights and empowerment. YachadMUN, the first Model United Nations (MUN) conference to be held in Modi’in, united Arab and Jewish girls and boys from more than 15 schools and cities around Israel for a full day of intensive debates and negotiations before finally voting on 5 resolutions.

 

YachadMUN was the latest MUN conference run by Debate for Peace (DfP), a program offering free MUN conferences to students all over Israel. DfP is run in DfP coordination with the Interfaith Encounters Association (IEA) and the Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB). DfP was able to provide transportation to participating schools thanks to a grant from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, its newest partner.

 

At the conference, the 150 participants, ranging from 13 to 18 years old, discussed topics of global importance related to women’s rights: women’s education; women’s health; women’s role in developing economies; sex trafficking, and women’s rights in Muslim countries. After four hours of rigorous debates and negotiations, all five committees passed resolutions.

 

During the closing ceremony, Mrs. Sassie Yona, the Yachad MUN club advisor, and a teacher in the English and Diplomacy program, thanked everyone who had helped make the conference happen, the guests and the participants. She was followed by the principal of Yachad, Mr. Sagiv Elbaz, who thanked Mrs. Yona for her commitment to MUN at Yachad, essentially creating a dominant program from scratch.

 

 

 

 

The keynote speaker was Dr. Iris Truman, barrister at law. Dr. Truman, who holds a PhD in law and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Leicester in England, has also served as a business mentor for young entrepreneurs for more than two decades.An expert in international law and trade agreements and managing complex negotiations, Dr. Truman is the chairman of the ICSCD committee of the Israeli Bar Association. She talked to the students about her latest initiative—a new international commercial court to settle disputes between countries and multinational companies, using practical examples relevant to the conference’s topics.

 

Following the formal speeches, came the awards section of the evening. Mr. Jack Karn read out the students who had earned scholarships to JPB interfaith programs in the United States this summer: Shai Lenman (Ort Binyamina); Alia Habib Allah (Al-Bashaer); Tal Tzipori (Yachad Modi’in); Lana Wattad (Jatt); Ariel Haguel-Gutman (Darca Begin); Jameel Ghantous (Al-Bashaer); Almog Bar (Ort Gan Yavne); Saba Tahaa (Jadeeda); Omri Zait (Ort Binyamina), and Donia Daghash (Al-Bashaer).

 

The chairs for each committee then came to the podium and announced the winners of the Best and Outstanding Delegates: In the HRC, Mor Atsmon, Ariel Zinman and Zohar Baskin; in ECOSOC, Chai Margalit and Omri Zait; in OIC, Shaked Offenbach and Donia Daghash, in UNESCO, Or Moshe, Tal Tzipori and Carmel Kenneth, and in the WHO, Yoav Lev Sagie, Hila Krokovski, Omar Masalha and Itai Shalev.

 

After the event, Mrs. Yona discussed how pleased she was with hosting Modi’in’s first MUN conference:

“My students and I put in countless hours of preparation for this event, and the day went off almost exactly as I had imagined and hoped it would.

 

Hosting YachadMUN has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. This has given students unique opportunities, and I have seen shy, introverted boys and girls shine as they challenge themselves to stand up and represent a country whose policy they may not necessarily agree with.”

Nooralhuda Hoji, co-Director of the Debate for Peace program said that “bringing together so many young students from around Israel to tackle such important topics is proof that we can work together to empower women and change perspectives on key issues, some of DfP’s most important goals.”

 

 

 
Steven Aiello is the founder and co-director of the Debate for Peace program  & a part of www.diplomacy.co.il Team
 

Photo Credit: Yachad Modi'in School

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Palestinian Authority’s campaign against the Balfour Declaration indicates that its leadership refuses to recognize the legitimate historical right of the Jews to their national homeland and casts serious doubts about Palestinian intentions.

 

November 2 2016 marks the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, one of the earliest measures taken by a major international actor to recognize the right of the Jewish people to reestablish sovereignty over their national homeland.The Declaration recognizes the fact that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel and have had a continual presence there for millennia. Jews have been striving to reconstitute their national homeland since the destruction of the Judean Kingdom in 70 CE, but the successful fulfillment of this goal began only in the 19th century when the political movement to return to the Jewish homeland began to establish national institutions at the Zionist Congress in 1897.The Balfour Declaration was issued on 2 November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour, and states: 

 

“His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

It is important to note that at the time the Declaration was issued, Palestine referred to a geographic area, not to any political entity as no such independent or sovereign entity existed.Recognition by the International Community International recognition of the Jewish people’s inalienable right to reestablish sovereignty in its ancestral homeland quickly followed the Balfour Declaration.Most significantly, the League of Nations [the precursor to the United Nations] recognized this right in its 24 July 1922 decision to establish the Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate. In that international legislative act, the League appointed Great Britain to be responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration into effect, with the goal of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The legally-binding League of Nations Mandate acknowledged the “historic connection of the Jewish people” to the area rightly known as the Land of Israel/Judea/the Holy Land.The League of Nations mandate of 1922 transformed the Balfour Declaration and its call for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people from a policy position into an international legal obligation accepted by the international community as a whole. Legitimate Jewish Rights The importance of both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision lays in the international recognition of preexisting natural, historical, and legal rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, in which there had been a continuous Jewish presence throughout the centuries. The official acknowledgment by the international community of the Jewish people’s historic ties to the land is further emphasized by the language used in the League’s Mandate decision. The Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate specifically calls to “reconstitute” the national home of the Jewish people, not to constitute anything new. The International Community and the Establishment of the State of Israel The Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations decision and the subsequent United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 all recognized the Jewish people’s right to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. These international decisions played an important role in galvanizing support for the establishment of the future State of Israel. Palestinian Attempts to Undermine the Balfour DeclarationThe essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from 1917 until today has been the systematic and total rejection by the Palestinian leadership of the Jewish people's legitimate national rights in the Land of Israel.Current Palestinian attempts to undermine the Balfour Declaration are part and parcel of their campaign to undermine the basic rights of Jewish peoplehood and the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Rejecting the Balfour Declaration is tantamount to rejecting the internationally-recognized natural rights of the Jewish people to a national home in the Land of Israel.While Israel has repeatedly stressed its adherence to the principle of two states for two people, these Palestinian attempts prove yet again that their leaders are less interested in establishing their own state alongside Israel than they are in forging it instead of Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s incongruous threat, first announced this past July, to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration amply demonstrates that Palestinian leaders remain fixated on unfounded allegations from the past instead of moving forward to a better future for both peoples. This historical denial of internationally-recognized Jewish rights by the Palestinian leadership is also refl ected in the recent attempts in UNESCO to erase the Jewish and Christian heritage of Jerusalem.Respect for the Rights of AllBoth the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision included specific provisions to ensure respect for the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants in the land of Israel, irrespective of their ethnic orientation or religion. Israel itself has always fervently strived to protect the rights of all its citizens – Jews and Arabs alike. Even before Israel became a state in 1948, the Jewish national movement deemed respect for the basic rights of all the inhabitants of the land as one of its most important values. Indeed, Israel enshrined these rights in its Declaration of Independence:

“THE STATE OF ISRAEL […] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”


The Quest for PeaceIn the hope of fulfilling its dream of peaceful coexistence, Israel – and the Jewish national movement that preceded it - continually demonstrated their readiness to make painful compromises with their Arab neighbors.In contrast, the rejectionist policies of the Palestinian leaders have not changed since 1917. Tragically, these Palestinian policies have not been limited to the political sphere. In 1947, the UN Partition Plan - which was accepted by the Jews - was rejected by the Arabs, who chose to wage a war of annihilation instead of accepting the compromise that would have averted all the wars that followed. Current activities by the Palestinian Authority, including its campaign against the Balfour Declaration, indicate that the Palestinian leadership continues to claim exclusive rights to the entire land, refusing to recognize the legitimate historical right of the Jews to their national homeland. These actions cast serious doubts about Palestinian intentions.These actions, together with the systematic distortion of Jewish history, are morally unacceptable and factually unfounded. They are inimical to the international community’s – and Israel’s – desire for peace. It is long past time for the international community to step up and demand that the Palestinians stop perpetuating the conflict against Israel and finally answer Israel’s repeated calls to return to direct negotiations for a genuine peace.

 

 

 

 

The Nuclear Deal with Iran: Commentary & Analysis from the Mitvim Institute

 

The Nuclear Deal with Iran: Commentary & Analysis

 

The deal reached between Iran and the six world powers is likely to have significant implications for Israel’s foreign policy, Israel-US relations, domestic American politics, next steps regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Iran’s role in the region. This document includes commentary and analysis on these issues by Mitvim Institute experts: Prof. Moshe Ma’oz, Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Ilai Saltzman, and Brian Reeves. It is also available in Hebrew.

 

An Israeli campaign against the deal will further damage Israel-US relations

 

Dr. Ilai Saltzman, The Mitvim Institute and Claremont McKenna College

 

The signing of a nuclear deal with Iran will further aggravate the already tense relations between Israel and the US regardless of the exact details of the agreement or the nature of the mechanisms put in place to make it work. To be more specific, this dramatic development will bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama further apart. The Prime Minister presented no coherent and practical alternative; he merely advocated maintaining the sanctions against Iran and dismantling its nuclear program, even by force. This “all or nothing” approach was utterly unacceptable and unfeasible from Obama’s vantage point and mutual criticism lasted until the very last minute.

 

The signing of the nuclear agreement will mark a new stage in Netanyahu’s anti-agreement crusade. Given the fact the American Congress will now have 60 days to review and assess the signed accords before lifting the sanctions on Iran, we should expect a massive Israeli campaign against its approval. While Netanyahu will not be invited to give another anti-agreement speech on Capitol Hill, he will use every possible asset to prevent Congress from lifting the sanctions. Netanyahu’s proxies including Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and AIPAC will engage every legislator, Republican or Democrat, and will be extremely vocal in the public sphere, criticizing the agreement and the president’s handling of the negotiations.

 

Regardless of the outcomes of the battle in Congress, one obvious casualty will be US-Israel relations. Israel has become a partisan political issue, dividing Congress and the Jewish community, forcing people to choose between their President and their support of Israel, as Netanyahu’s speech in Congress vividly showed. Obama will do anything in his power to prevent Congress from interfering in what he believes to be one of the most significant diplomatic achievements of his administration. The crossfire will certainly take its toll and the only question is the exact price Israel will pay.

 

Netanyahu’s maximalist and uncompromising approach throughout the nuclear talks left Israel marginalized and disengaged from the negotiations. In the post-deal period, the Israeli government must engage the Administration in good faith and regain access to the decision-making process, in order to influence the way the agreement is enforced and Iran’s nuclear facilities are monitored. Moreover, in the long-term, Israel should seek a reversal of Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region through encouraging US-Iranian rapprochement induced by the nuclear agreement.

 

A veto-proof majority in Congress against the deal is unlikely

 

Brian Reeves, The Mitvim Institute

 

Now, that an Iranian nuclear deal has been reached, the US Congress must decide whether it risks being a hindrance or abettor to this historic compromise. Particularly in the Senate, where it can still plausibly go either way on whether the chamber can muster a veto-proof, two-thirds majority against an agreement, the reputation of many Democratic members on the fence hangs in the balance.

 

With this in mind, recent statements from leading senators appear to corroborate the prevailing assessment that this two-thirds majority cannot be achieved. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) repeatedly called an expected deal a “hard sell,” but refused to impart a more forceful response. Senior Senator Lindsey Graham (R) contended he was in favor of the interim deal and applauded Secretary John Kerry’s efforts, while qualifying these comments with a formulaic critique of President Obama’s supposed willingness to give concessions. Senior Democratic Senator and known hawk on Iran, Robert Menendez, voiced his concerns but would not rule out support for a deal.

 

Given the influence of these three senators, their statements are of considerable import. They each demonstrate pains to hedge their bets on the passing and long-term success of a deal, and more importantly to help prepare their constituencies for coming to terms with that deal. This latter, critical aspect of helping one’s nation take advantage of any new, significant reality is now also being practiced by Iranian President Rouhani.

 

With a deal soon to be reached and under review in Congress, Israel’s leadership now has a choice. It can either continue to level unrestrained rebuke at its American counterparts and pronounce doomsday predictions. Or it can still voice its legitimate concerns, but through language and actions mindful of its relationship with the US, while preparing new regional policies and its citizens for both the challenges and opportunities that this new paradigm in the Middle East may present. If strategy, not ideology, is to prevail, then it should adopt the second option.

 

The international community can now re-engage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

 

Dr. Nimrod Goren, The Mitvim Institute and the Hebrew University

 

Israeli politicians, from the coalition and opposition alike, were quick to state unequivocally that the deal poses grave danger to Israel. They did so before even having the chance to read the text of the final agreement. This is characteristic of Israeli statesmanship, which tends to emphasize the risks and the negative aspects of international and regional developments. The problem with this approach is that it lessens the ability to identify opportunities in a timely manner. Moreover, it tends to create tensions between Israel and its Western allies, which often distance Israel from international decision-making processes relating to international issues of historical significance.

 

Israel would be wise to react positively to the efforts invested by the six world powers, among which are Israel’s two greatest allies – the US and Germany, to address a major security threat that Israel faces. Israel would also be wise to refrain from launching a new struggle against the deal that has been reached. Instead, and despite its reservations from the deal, Israel should now work together with the US and the broader international community, and seek to leverage the deal to promote its diplomatic and security interests.

 

The fact that a deal has been reached on the Iranian nuclear program also means that the international community’s self-imposed hiatus from dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come to an end. As a result of the recent Israeli elections and the negotiations with Iran, international efforts on this issue have been frozen for over half a year. However, Israel did not use this respite to propose its own framework for advancing the two-state solution and now, the international powers are likely to return to these issues with greater urgency and perhaps in a more coordinated fashion in light of their successful model of joint negotiations vis-à-vis the Iranians.

 

In the coming months, the US and the Europeans are expected to promote initiatives that will bring more clarity to the parameters for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the potential fruits of peace, and the prices of its absence. Israel should be as engaged as possible in the shaping of these efforts and should avoid slamming the door on its Western allies, as she did on the Iranian nuclear talks. If the current Israeli government does not do so, the Opposition will have an opportunity to carve a significant political-diplomatic role for itself, vis-à-vis both the international community and the Israeli public.

 

Iran’s regional role after the deal: Fighting IS while promoting a “Shi’i Crescent”

 

Prof. Moshe Ma’oz, The Hebrew University and the Mitvim Institute

 

The nuclear deal will increase Iran’s strategic, political and economic power.The crucial question is whetheror not Tehran will employ its new advantages to advance stability in the Middle East and to settle its ideological and strategic disputes with Sunni Muslim countries.

 

Iran is likely to expand its military and economic efforts to contain, if not defeat, IS forces in Iraq and Syria, which are threatening Tehran's allies in Baghdad, Damascus and Hizballah, and are also main factors of regional instability. By doing so, it will contribute to regional stability. But simultaneously, Iran is likely to continue its regional “Shi'i Crescent” strategy, which widens frictions between Shi'is and Sunnis in several Arab countries, thus also contributing to instability.

 

Shi'i Iran by no means can afford to forsake the most important Shi'i shrines in Najaf and Karbala (Southern Iraq) and the majority (60%) Shi'i state of Iraq. Nor could Tehran abandon its Alawi (pseudo-Shi'i) ally in Damascus, being a crucial link to its Shi'i proxy, Hizballah, in Lebanon, as well as to its “Shi'i Crescent" strategy. Indeed, it may be also predicted that Iran will also use its new grand position to strengthen its would-be Shi'i Crescent by fostering the Shi'i communities in oil-producing Gulf state such as Bahrain, Kuwait and even Saudi Arabia, as well as Yemen.

 

In view of this possible scenario, Israel should find ways to establish a solid strategic cooperation with Sunni-Muslim states in the region aiming at curbing this common Shi'i threat. A major condition for such strategic cooperation is for Israel to settle the Palestinian problem. Such bold policy may also reduce Iran's immense antagonism to Israel.

 

__________________________________

 

Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies

11 Tuval St, Ramat Gan 525226, Israel

+972-52-4733613, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.mitvim.org.il

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister's Office Statement on Turkish Parliament Decision

 

 

Israel welcomes the Turkish Parliament's decision to approve the deal recently concluded by the two governments and looks forward to the next steps of its implementation, including the return of our respective ambassadors.

 

 

President Rivlin makes ‘Israeli Hope: Towards a new Israeli order’ address at the 15th Annual Herzliya Conference, marking a year since his election.

 

In the speech, the President stressed;

 

The make-up of the ‘stakeholders’ of Israeli society, and of the State of Israel, is changing before our eyes
In the State of Israel the basic systems that form people's consciousness are tribal and separate, and will most likely remain so
If we do not reduce the current gaps in the rate of participation in the work force and in the salary levels of the Arab and Haredi populations - who are soon to become one half of the work force - Israel will not be able to continue to be a developed economy.

 

The President posed the following challenging questions;

 

Are we, the members of the Zionist population, able to accept the fact that two significant groups, a half of the future population of Israel, do not define themselves as Zionists? They do not watch the torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl on Independence Day. They do not sing the national anthem with eyes glistening.


Are we willing to give up military service, as an entry ticket into Israeli society and economy, and settle for civilian or community service?


Are the Arab and Haredi publics willing to commit to contributing their share in molding Israeli identity and the Israeli economy, and to participating in civil national and community service, with a sense of responsibility and commitment?

 

The President stressed that;

 

The Haredi, the secular, the religious, or the Arab individual must not feel that the issues most sensitive to them are in danger or under threat.


The sense of security that my basic identity is not threatened is a fundamental prerequisite for the ability of each one of us to hold out a hand to the other.


No tribe is exempt from proposing solutions to deal with the challenge of defending the security of the State; from facing the economic challenges, or maintaining the international status of Israel as a member of the family of nations. Partnership demands responsibility.


The developing Israeli mosaic offers a tremendous opportunity. It encompasses cultural richness, inspiration, humanity and sensitivity.

 

President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon, (Sunday), addressed the 15th annual Herzliya Conference of the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya, marking the first year of his term as the Tenth President of the State of Israel. In the speech, entitled "Israeli Hope: Towards a new Israeli order", the President spoke about the various developments within the different camps in Israeli society, and of the obligation as a society to actively work to expand the partnership and cooperation as a crucial prerequisite for the State of Israel. The President warned against the deterioration of Israeli society in light of the demographic trends and the alienation between the various groups in the society; Haredim, Arabs, national religious Jews, and secular.

 

The President said, “I have never regarded, nor will I ever regard any persons or groups comprising Israeli society as a danger, or, God forbid, as a threat. But, I am standing here today, because I have identified a very real threat in our collective suppression of the transformations that Israeli society has been undergoing in recent decades; in neglecting to confront what I call the ‘new Israeli order’, the significance of which I want to deal with today.”

 

The President continued, “In the 1990s (as can be seen in the slide behind me), Israeli society comprised a clear and firm majority, with minority groups alongside it. A large secular Zionist majority, and beside it three minority groups: a national-religious minority, an Arab minority, and a Haredi minority. Although this pattern remains frozen in the minds of much of the Israeli public, in the press, in the political system, all the while, the reality has totally changed.

 

“Today, the first grade classes are composed of about 38% secular Jews, about 15% national religious, about one quarter Arabs, and close to a quarter Haredim. While it is true that numbers and definitions are dynamic, neither identities nor birth-rates remain static over time. But one thing is clear, the demographic processes that are restructuring or redesigning the shape of Israeli society, have, in fact, created a ‘new Israeli order’. A reality in which there is no longer a clear majority, nor clear minority groups. A reality in which Israeli society is comprised of four population sectors, or, if you will, four principal ‘tribes’, essentially different from each other, and growing closer in size. Whether we like it or not, the make-up of the ‘stakeholders’ of Israeli society, and of the State of Israel, is changing before our eyes.”

 

The President added, “In the State of Israel the basic systems that form people's consciousness are tribal and separate, and will most likely remain so. The ‘new Israeli order’ is not a creative sociological differentiation; it is, rather, a reality with far-reaching consequences for our national resilience, for the future of us all. From an economic viewpoint, the current reality is not viable. The mathematics is simple, any child can see it. If we do not reduce the current gaps in the rate of participation in the work force and in the salary levels of the Arab and Haredi populations - who are soon to become one half of the work force - Israel will not be able to continue to be a developed economy. The severe and painful epidemic of poverty that is already having a major effect in Israel, will only expand and worsen.”

 

The President concluded by saying, “During my first year in office, I have worked to rouse each sector among us, to see the other sector - even when difficult - to hear the other sector, even when it grates on ones ears. To hold out a hand to them. At the end of that year, I now stand here before you, seeking to say these things openly and clearly, feeling deeply that Israeli society is today in need of a wake-up call. I call on you all today to join me in facing this challenge. I am a partner to anyone ready and willing to play their part in this task. I am here at your service, at the service of all of Israeli society. Only in this way, together and in partnership, shall we be able to rekindle the Israeli hope.”

 

In his speech, the President highlighted the need for four key principles of partnership for Israeli society:

 

The first is a sense of security for each sector, that entry into this partnership does not require giving up basic elements of their identity. The Haredi, the secular, the religious, or the Arab individual must not feel that the issues most sensitive to them are in danger or under threat. Whether this be the Haredi way of education in the Yeshivot; the national religious concept of redemption; the liberal lifestyle of a secular Jew, or the Arab-Palestinian identity. The sense of security that my basic identity is not threatened is a fundamental prerequisite for the ability of each one of us to hold out a hand to the other. To understand their pain and fears. The ability of us all, to establish a partnership here between the various sectors. We cannot do this unless we can learn to know each other, unless we gain an understanding of the most sensitive issues of each sector, and learn how to respect and safeguard them – even when this is difficult or even frustrating.


The second pillar is shared responsibility. When no tribe is a minority, no side can escape bearing responsibility for the destiny and the future of the State of Israel, and of Israeli society in general. So, no tribe is exempt from proposing solutions to deal with the challenge of defending the security of the State; from facing the economic challenges, or maintaining the international status of Israel as a member of the family of nations. Partnership demands responsibility.


The third pillar, is equity and equality. In order to ensure the partnership between us, we must ensure that no citizen is discriminated against, nor favored, simply because they belong to a specific sector. The current situation of structural gaps between the partners, whether in budgets, infrastructures or land, is intolerable. There are clear tribal aspects to poverty in Israel, and the majority of senior positions in the economy are held by the members of one or two sectors. In such a situation it is not possible to build a shared future here. In order to create a strong basis for the partnership between us, we will have to ensure an accessible ‘Israeli dream’ that can be realized by each and every young person, judged only on the basis of their talents, and not according to their ethnic or social origins.


The fourth, and the most challenging pillar, is the creation of a shared Israeli character - a shared ‘Israeliness’. Despite the challenges the ‘new Israeli order’ poses, we must recognize that we are not condemned to be punished by the developing Israeli mosaic – but rather it offers a tremendous opportunity. It encompasses cultural richness, inspiration, humanity and sensitivity. We must not allow the ‘new Israeli order’ to cajole us into sectarianism and separation. We must not give up on the concept of ‘Israeliness’; we should rather open up its gates and expand its language.

 

The President’s speech marked a year since his election to office, and a year of activity in the field of building and encouraging educational, economic and social cooperation across Israeli society. Accordingly, the the Herzliya Conference of the Institute for Policy and Strategy, in close cooperation with the President's office has created a steering committee composed of public figures and opinion leaders, along with academics and business executives from all sectors of Israeli society.

 

Over the next year, the committee will meet to discuss four subjects which will be held in four communities representing the main 'tribes' within Israeli society.

 

On the eve of the 2016 Herzliya Conference, the steering committee will submit a report to the President that will include lines of agreement and disagreement, as well as policy recommendations in the following four issues:

 

Equality, rights and obligations of the new Israeli agenda (service, budgeting, land, etc)
The community and state within the new Israeli agenda (education, public sphere, "cultural autonomy")
Joint economy and society in the new Israeli agenda (fighting poverty, equal opportunity, and the "Israeli dream")
What is a "joint Israeli society" in the new Israeli agenda? (Symbols / ceremonies, education).

 

The full report (4 chapters) shall be submitted to the President, leading up to the 2016 Herzliya Conference, during which an extended discussion will take place with Ministers and Members of Knesset, looking at the report's findings and recommendations, entitled "Israeli Hope: Towards a New Israeli Agenda".

 

The committee's work will be accompanied by a process of public participation process in which the public will be asked questions on the subjects of the various sessions through an internet platform. Furthermore, a public opinion survey with key questions about the above issues will take place.

 

Photo Credit 

 

Erez Harodi Ozim Tzilum