JERUSALEM – Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman is among the dignitaries scheduled to attend the inaugural Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy to be held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Feb. 11-12.
Jointly initiated by businessmen Haim Taib and Joseph Zarzewsky, together with the Center for Jewish and Democratic Law at Bar-Ilan University led by Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, the new initiative will guide participants in setting the ethical, conceptual and moral path towards a pluralistic society in Israel that embraces all Jewish sectors and serves as a home for Jews worldwide.
Inspired by the Zionist congresses conducted prior to the establishment of the Jewish State, which held discussions on the fundamental character of the state vision, the first Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy will address the complexities arising from Israel’s dual identity as Jewish and democratic – complexities that have led to numerous clashes in recent years – using mediation as its principle approach.
Community mediators and professionals in the field will facilitate discussions and assist participants while they deliberate sensitive issues in Israel today, including: Who is a Jew?; and the status of women. Participants will also focus on the connection between various Jewish populations, both in Israel and abroad, and the connection between world Jewry and the State of Israel.
Planned as an annual event, the Congress aims to bring about a long-term process of reconciliation through engaging participants in a restorative, empowering, and enriching discussion focused on the relevant major issues.
“On the occasion of Israel’s 70th anniversary, through the Congress we want to chart a path of conduct to a society that is integrated with the ultra-Orthodox community and the minorities, a society that accepts the other and is also a home for Jews around the world,” said Taib.
In addition to Senator Lieberman, notable Congress participants will include President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin.
Congress activities are expected to take place year-round, with the annual two-day congressional gathering the main event each year.