NOVEMBER: The Structure of Israel’s Government and Politics
Since 1995, Israeli society has suffered from unstable governments that have not been able hold office for more than one term. In order to understand the political situation in Israel many questions need to be answered.
- Why doesn’t Israeli democracy have full checks and balances?
- How does that fact influence the parliament’s job?
- Why is it so hard to assemble a government in Israel?
- Who are the key players in that game?
- How does the election system work in Israel?
If you have ever wondered about any of these questions, or have other questions, come to the November session!
DECEMBER: Lebanese Conflicts
On June 6, 1982, the Israeli Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon. Israel believed that it could create a security zone that would ensure peace and quiet along the northern border of Israel. Since then, 28 years have passed and many events have occurred: Hezbollah has grown stronger and has a larger influence in Lebanon; Israel has removed her soldiers from the security zone; the borders have been redefined. However, the uncertainty remains as it was 28 years ago. Why? Come and take part in our Lebanese Conflict session to learn the answers.
JANUARY: Peace Process
When was the last time you looked at a map of the Middle East? Among all of the countries that comprise the area, only ONE is a democracy: Israel. The tiny country of Israel describes herself as a Jewish Democracy and is surrounded by vast areas of Arab lands, ruled over by various rulers and factions—not one other democracy exists in the Middle East. Over the 60+ years of her existence, Israel has tried to keep her “head above water” by winning on the battle fields and by trying to make peace with its neighbors. In the early 1990’s, Yitzhak Rabin’s government tried to put an end to the bloodshed by initiating a peace process with the Jordanians and later, with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the peace with the Jordanians has become weaker from year to year. The “peace process” with the Palestinians is a very different story.
- What happened to the peace with the Jordanians?
- Why is the peace process not a success after all these years?
- What is going on with the “talks” with the Palestinians?
- Whose fault is the lack of progress toward peace?
If you want to know the answers to these questions and more, please plan to attend our January session.
FEBRUARY: Gaza Strip and Disengagement
Some people consider the Gaza Strip one of the most unstable places in the world. Despite the potential of its beauty, the Gaza Strip has become a dangerous war zone during the past 10 years. Without a chance for a peaceful agreement, Israel decided to disengage from Gaza with hope that the future would be brighter for both sides. The disengagement plan was one of the biggest tests for the Israeli democracy, and the Palestinian “desire for peace”. Military-wise, there are still clashes between Hamas and the IDF, and many critical questions to answer:
- What are the consequences of the disengagement?
- Is there a possibility of negotiations with Hamas?
- Why did the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) need to stop the flotilla?
We were there and we can tell you stories from our personal perspective, as well as additional facts. Please join us for an interesting conversation.
MARCH: The West Bank and the Settlements
The West Bank and the Jewish settlements are some of the most debated issues by the Israeli decision makers, as well as a topic for discussion by individuals around the world. In order to better understand the significance of the West Bank, the Settlements themselves and the barrier walls built by Israel, this particular session will discuss the events that have occurred in the West Bank area since the Second Intifada up until today.
- What’s the difference between Hamas and the PLO?
- Who is leading the Palestinians in the West Bank?
- What are the Jewish population figures in the West Bank?
- Why do so many Jews want to build in such a hostile area?
If you are looking for answers to these questions and others, join us in March!
Jerusalem plays an extremely important role in the world’s three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The 2000 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem lists 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, and 73 mosques within the city. Since its establishment, Jerusalem has always been a place of attraction and discord. In 1967, the reality changed as Israel captured East Jerusalem. Under Israeli control, the city has opened up religious holy areas to everyone. Despite Israel’s efforts to maintain peaceful religious coexistence, some sites, such as the Temple Mount, have been a continuous source of friction and controversy.
If you want to delve into the roots and meanings of the rights, freedoms, conflicts and controversies, we invite you to our Jerusalem session.