With 47 parties seeking the support of 6.3 million potential Israeli voters on April 9, the race for the next Knesset has never been so fierce. For those connected to the Jewish State who live outside her borders, understanding the complex coalition system can often be quite daunting.
The election campaign focuses on four main issues that reflect larger competing worldviews:
- Should the economy be managed in a social-democratic or free market manner?
- Should the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate control the legal frameworks for religious expression and life-cycle events?
- Should a Prime Minister facing multiple corruption and bribery charges should continue to lead the country?
- Should Israel pursue a two-state solution with the Palestinian people?
Here at Makom, we see Israel as the greatest Jewish achievement of our generation with democratic elections being the greatest moment of Jewish self-determination, giving citizens the right to choose the future direction of the Zionist project. Unlike Italy which allows members of her diaspora to vote in elections, Israel only allows citizens living in the country on election day to vote (except for diplomats).
However, because the contest of ideas that has always been so much at the heart of the Zionist movement comes to the fore during campaigns, we strongly believe that it’s important for all who have an interest in the future of the world’s only Jewish state to have their say.
Through voting in the Makom Parallel Election, you will be participating in a global poll determining opinion from diverse communities about the direction of the greatest Jewish enterprise of our lifetime. After April 9, we will publish the results of the Makom Parallel Election, side by side with the actual results. This will hopefully create a valuable conversation starter for Israel educators around the world who are looking at what we have in common, and the issues that divide us most.
Policies before politics
In putting together this initiative, we felt it important that unlike much of the media hype around this campaign focused on tweets, polls, personalities and hypothetical questions, we would create a policy table outlining where all the parties with realistic chances of being in the Knesset stand on issues that matter.
Putting this table together was very challenging, as many Israeli parties don’t list specific policies on most issues, or change their views once elected due to coalition discipline which often forces them to vote for policies with which they oppose in order to have part of their agenda passed by other parties in the coalition.
By reading this table, and posting any questions you have on the Makom facebook page, we hope to be a valuable resource for you in understanding these elections, and being part of the conversation that sees Israel in Real Life.
In this presentation, Makom’s Jonny Ariel lays out a useful framework for understanding the encounter of Jewish with the modern world, focusing on characteristics of Israeli Society and Jewish communities in North America.
Here is a fifteen-minute introduction to the 4HQ approach. Makom now runs training seminars in applying the 4HQ approach to schools, to campuses, to adult education, and to synagogues. In this video, you’ll be able to taste the depth and breadth of the approach.
For a written version of the contents of this video (not a transcript), please download from here.
Erez is a complicated character — a gay Woody Allen without the charm. He is the biological father of Hillel, whom he brought into the world with Hillel’s mother Talia, a straight single woman who works in the army. Erez’ partner of six years – and second father to Hillel – is Sami, a mizrachi gay man far more at peace with his sexuality and his Jewish heritage than Erez. This light-hearted drama was a hit in the winter of 2012/13 on Channel 3, a popular Israeli cable station. In this 4th episode new-born Hillel is due to undergo his circumcision. Will Erez overcome his ambivalence towards such “primitive” rituals? Will Talia cope with her motherly instinct to protect her child from harm? Will Sami’s mother attend the ceremony? These questions and more…
Joe is an alienated confused and charismatic young woman doing occasional drug errands. One night she comes across a suicidal woman called Belle who has broken into her bathroom in order to slit her wrists. Somehow this later leads to a gun going off a few times in the direction of Joe’s ex-lover, and Joe and Belle need to disappear. But where? When your entire country is the size of New Jersey it’s not easy to disappear, unless there’s a convenient war zone in your neighborhood…
David Deri is a successful film director – a gay man living in Tel Aviv, the pink center of Israel. “Say Amen” follows his journey of coming out to his family in Yerucham. His sisters already know, his brothers suspect, and his traditionally religious parents – devout immigrants from Morocco – continue to pray for him to find a wife. As we follow Deri’s journey, we learn about the distance between Tel Aviv and Yerucham, and the mixed blessing of a close-knit loving family.
Yossi is the stoic company commander of an Israeli Defense Forces unit on the Lebanese border. Jagger, who got his nickname thanks to his fun-loving rock star appeal, is the platoon leader. They have a secret. When they walk off in the snow together, it isn’t because they’re on patrol–it’s because they’re lovers. Jagger tells Yossi that he loves him, and longs to hear Yossi say it back to him. Yossi can’t bring himself to make any promises. “This isn’t some American movie,” he tells Jagger…
This “non-American movie” was initially greeted with suspicion by the Israel Army, until hundreds of soldiers began rushing to see it as the film sold out a Tel Aviv cinema for three months. Ohad Knoller (Yossi) won best actor at the Tribeca Film Festival of 2003, and the film ended up being screened in Israeli Army bases.
“Gay Days (Hazman Havarod) chronicles the evolution of the GLBT rights movement in Israel, from 1985 until the current day. It’s a personal story told through the eyes of the director Yair Qedar, the editor of the GLBT paper, The Pink Times. The film begins in 1985 when there are only a handful of openly gay people within Israeli society. But by 1998 this number has increased to over 3000. Using archive materials from television, film and home videos alongside photographs and extracts from Yair’s own diary, the film tells intimate, moving and humorous stories of the fight for equality through the movement’s key players, shedding light on their personal struggles as well those of the movement in general.” – Lucy Kaye & Marc Isaacs
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We need to talk about Israel.
Too often it seems that our conversations about Israel are either too cerebral to be meaningful, or too passionate to be intelligent. We need to be able to bring both our heads and our hearts to bear. This is no easy task, as we face at least three challenges.