Conceptual Frames

We like to think that Israel Engagement thinking can’t be summarized in a couple of tweets, and we also believe that a few great lessons or programs do not a transformation make. Sometimes a framework is needed, or a different way of thinking.

Here we have gathered, and will continue to gather, our longer articles and thought-pieces about Israel and Israel engagement.

The Hatikvah Vision

להיות עם חופשי בארצנו – To be a free people in our land

 

We would suggest that a framing understanding of what Israel means to the Jewish People, boils down to four values as expressed in the penultimate line of Israel’s National Anthem. An exploration of the four elements might be at the heart of every Israel Engagement curriculum, the theme of Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, and the basis on which a ‘broad tent’ of Israel advocacy might be built.

להיות – To be

The way in which the creation of the State of Israel served and serves the survival or the Jewish people. To be in the sense of ‘exist’. It would likewise explore the idea of ‘normality’ that Israel was expected to engender. To be in the sense of ‘let it be’… 

עם – People

The way in which Israel is connected to the Jewish People culturally, historically, religiously. Where Israel expresses its connection to the Jewish world and its meaning. At the same time this sub-theme would address the nature of Jewish collectivity. 

חופשי – Free

The nature of freedom as embodied in the creation of the State. Not simply the freedom of Pesach, which celebrates a freedom from suffering and persecution, but also the very particular form of freedom that Statehood has brought: the freedom to take responsibility for oneself, the freedom to grant or refuse freedoms to others. Freedom would also refer to the freedom to create, to innovate, and to renew. 

בארצנו – In our land

The specificity of Israel as a geographical, political, and historical entity with deep significance to the Jewish People. This sub-theme would also address the question of ownership: the proof of ownership and the expectations and responsibility of ‘owners’.

 

Were we to remove the word People – עם – from this phrase, we would be left with what was the Meretz slogan in favor of the Gay Pride March in Jerusalem 2006. To be free in our land is a worthy aspiration that pays no heed to a shared Jewish collective. Were we to remove the word Free – חופשי – we might sum up the cultural non-military approach of R. Yochanan ben Zachai, establishing Roman protection of Yavneh’s scholars. And removal of In Our Land – בארצנו – would leave our theme with no reference to Israel!

To our mind, the other advantage of this four-point organizing theme, is that it can give respect to unresolved questions and concerns. To what extent Israel has ensured the continued survival of the Jewish People (להיות), how far Israel has strayed from or developed its culture (עם), whether Israelis take full responsibility for their collective and individual actions (חופשי), and a Diaspora Jew’s connection to the land (בארצנו) – all these are issues that can be aired and housed within this overall structure.

This four-point set of principles can also offer us an effective pathway into rejoicing, reflecting, and defending. For no matter how one chooses to define our current situation, the Jewish People is closer to normality and more equipped to survive and fend for itself than it was before 1948 (להיות), is more capable of acting as a collective (עם), more free than ever in history (חופשי), and living in the land of our forefathers (בארצנו). Looking at Israel through these principles, we can find reason for joy as well as reflection.

As the first step in exploring the potential of this theme, we have created chevruta text studies around the 4 values.

 

Chag Haatzmaut

Can we reassess the way our community celebrates Israel?

Is it possible for us to reimagine Yom Ha’atzmaut as a Jewish festival, a chag, rather than a secular birthday? What if our Israel celebration walked from Yom HaShoah to Yom Ha’atzmaut? What if the days in between these two monumental events in Jewish history were filled with reflection, anticipation, activity and celebration leading up to the commemorative day itself?

Makom in Depth

Here is a collection of longer articles written by Makom staff, which should give a deeper and more thorough encounter with our approach to Israel engagement.

Jewish Peoplehood

For several years Makom worked in close collaboration with the Jewish Peoplehood Hub. During this time, several papers were produced, gathering together the latest thinking on Peoplehood.

Thinking about Haredim

Our research for the Global Jewish Forum on Haredim and the Jewish Collective was enlightening. Over the next few weeks we shall be presenting here all the materials that we feel may shed some light on the complexities of the subject. We look forward to hearing your responses.


 

Here we present the video Makom created for the Global Jewish Forum in Jerusalem.


 

Some time before declaring himself as a political candidate, writer and broadcaster Yair Lapid spoke to the Haredi track of Kiryat Ono College. We felt the speech was worth translating…

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Israel's Declaration of Independence

ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) - the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma’pilim [(Hebrew) - immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people – the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations.

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.

In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it 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 STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.

PLACING OUR TRUST IN THE “ROCK OF ISRAEL”, WE AFFIX OUR SIGNATURES TO THIS PROCLAMATION AT THIS SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE, ON THE SOIL OF THE HOMELAND, IN THE CITY OF TEL-AVIV, ON THIS SABBATH EVE, THE 5TH DAY OF IYAR, 5708 (14TH MAY,1948).

 

David Ben-Gurion

Daniel Auster

Mordekhai Bentov

Yitzchak Ben Zvi

Eliyahu Berligne

Fritz Bernstein

Rabbi Wolf Gold

Meir Grabovsky

Yitzchak Gruenbaum

Dr. Abraham Granovsky

Eliyahu Dobkin

Meir Wilner-Kovner

Zerach Wahrhaftig

Herzl Vardi Rachel Cohen

Rabbi Kalman Kahana

Saadia Kobashi

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin

Meir David Loewenstein

Zvi Luria

Golda Myerson

Nachum Nir

Zvi Segal

Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman

David Zvi Pinkas

Aharon Zisling

Moshe Kolodny

Eliezer Kaplan

Abraham Katznelson

Felix Rosenblueth

David Remez

Berl Repetur

Mordekhai Shattner

Ben Zion Sternberg

Bekhor Shitreet

Moshe Shapira

Moshe Shertok

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