This year, nearly 65 years after the founding of the State and two weeks after Israel‘s 19th Knesset elections, we will discuss whether the Jewish state has succeeded in becoming a united national entity, the aspiration of the State’s founders, or if Israel is merely a collection of special-interest groups.
Many feel that Israeli society has long ceased to be mobilized towards a unified purpose dictated by a sovereign hegemon. The ever-increasing fragmentation of Israeli society begs us to reflect on questions about the nature and possibly even the existence of Israeli society. Can an integrated society exist with the widely different values systems that guide us? If so, who do we consider to be part of our society? Will the newly elected government only represent sectorial interests or will its policies be able to help unify a fragmenting society?
This year’s conference will convene a wide range of theoreticians and practitioners, scholars and activists, representatives of the media and government in an attempt to draw a picture of the current state of the State of Israel through the exploration of various topics—religion and state, society and economy, society and the military, education, and the sectorialism existing within Israeli society.
Us and Them - Intersections in Israeli Society - English
Many different demographic and socioeconomic sectors function within Israel's narrow borders. Sixty-five years on, little has been done to integrate these factions and certain policies may even have been instrumental in increasing their number and polarity. On the other hand, the availability of information and new media have made the boundaries in which these groups live more permeable. What is the extent of this phenomenon within each sector and beyond? How do minority groups in Israel affect the nation's character? Panelists include Dr. Einat Wilf, member of the outgoing Knesset, and Adina Bar-Shalom, founder of a college for ultra-Orthodox women. Leader of the panel is iEngage Fellow Dr. Tal Becker.