This month we invite you to get to the roots of liberal nationalism. In a time when the idea of a nation-state is too often portrayed as contradictory to personal liberties, it is important to remember that the evolution of national thinking went hand in hand with a liberal worldview. From Mazzini, Mill and Renan in Europe, to Jabotinsky and Wolzer in the Jewish discourse, the concept of liberal nationalism has been well-established and seems to carry a very relevant message to our modern society.
As the 17th Knesset draws to an end, the Institute of Zionist Strategies is proud to publish the Zionist Legislation Scale, in which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to Members of Knesset who excelled in Zionist legislation activism.
What is the Zionist Legislation Scale?
The Zionist Legislation Scale Report is being published for the first time by the Institute of Zionist Strategies in preparation for the upcoming elections. The report summarizes the Zionist legislation passed during the term of the 17th Knesset, from Nissan 5766 (March 2006) to Shvat 5769 (February 2009). The report only contains laws and amendments that passed the entire legislation process. This report praises the Zionist activism of MKs who excelled in passing these laws.
What is Zionist Legislation?
Zionism, in this day in age, is a concept that is open to broad interpretation. The definition of Zionism can be quite vague and minimalist (for example, establishing a State for the Jewish nation), or alternatively, very comprehensive (for instance, creating a perfect society that will set an example for the world).
We, at the Institute for Zionist Strategies, believe that Zionist activity should be understood as the strengthening the State of Israel as a National Home for the Jewish Nation, by means of intensifying its Jewish identity. Read More
By Yakov Faitelson
Growth trends and population forecasts have played a significant role in the political landscape of the Middle East, especially over the thorny question of Israel and the disputed territories. The notion that the Jewish majority of Israel is in danger of being swamped by Arab fertility has repeatedly been used as a political and psychological weapon to extract territorial concessions from the Israeli government. In September 2010, U.S. president Barack Obama referred to the so-called “hard realities of demography” that threaten the survival of the Jewish state.
Such a conclusion is wrong. Analysis of long-term demographic developments leads to quite the opposite conclusion: In the long run, a strong Jewish majority, not only in the state of Israel—as this author projected almost twenty-five years ago and the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics recently reaffirmed—but also in the Land of Israel is quite possible.
Population growth for the Land of Israel at the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century will be influenced by the Arab and Jewish natural increase rates reaching a convergence point based on similar live birth and mortality rates. It will also likely be influenced by continued Jewish immigration, including a new, possibly strong wave in the near future following the prolonged world economic crisis and manifestations of rising anti-Semitism around the globe. Repatriation will also be encouraged if the Israeli economy continues to be strong in the near future, an increased likelihood based in part on the huge gas and shale oil fields recently discovered in Israel. The share of Jews in the total population of the Land of Israel may also increase as a result of continued Arab emigration that may include Israeli Arabs as well. According to the results of the first-ever survey on political-social attitudes of Arab youth in Israel, conducted by the Baladna Association for Arab Youth and the Mada al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research, both in Haifa, 25 percent of the Arab youth in Israel want to emigrate. Read More
In the research, Ya’akov Faitelson, using statistical and comparative data, presents the demography of greater Jerusalem and its anticipated patterns of growth in the coming years.
One of the findings charts the rapid growth trend in the Jewish sector, relative to other sectors. An unexpected finding, is the fact that, in contrast to the center of the city, there is no migration of Jews from greater Jerusalem. The purpose of the research is to create a foundation for the formulation of a demographic policy appropriate to each of the regions in the country, starting wit the Capitol. Faitelson offers innovative suggestions and recommendations for a plan of action.
The inter-denominational and inter-religious conflicts in the Middle East which we are currently witnessing are based on objective factors. This lesson was already understood by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1920 when he proposed slicing up the Ottoman Empire in accordance with the real religious-ethnic segmentation of the local population. Seventy years later the same suggestion was made by Bernard Lewis, and Colonel Ralph Peters of the U.S. Army General Staff, each of them in his own time.
he demographic “population bomb” has been perceived for decades as a looming threat to Jewish democracy in Israel. Lately it has been repeatedly cited as a justification for far-reaching territorial concessions. However, many recent studies seem to cast doubt on this threat. The Jewish majority in Israel has been fairly stable for decades, and the gap in birthrates has greatly narrowed.
A new study by Yaakov Faitelson brings a unique historical perspective to this issue. Looking at the past, we see that Jews in the land of Israel have been concerned about demographics since the 19th century, yet the Jewish population and majority has been steadily increasing for generations. Looking at the future, we see that careful demographic projections suggest that the Jewish majority in the land of Israel will likely be fairly stable for another generation. This doesn’t mean that the demographic make-up of the local population is not a valid concern, but it does suggest that there is no justification for panic.
In his new study, Yaakov Faitelson uncovers demographic trends among the various populations in the State of Israel, and their influence on the educational system. The study shows that the rate of growth of the wider Jewish population is considerably higher than the Central Bureau of Statistics’ forecast, while the various minority populations grew in line with the lower end of CBS’s forecast range. These trends significantly influence the nature of Israel’s educational system.
According to the study’s conclusions, the data indicates continuous rapid growth in the Jewish first grade student body in the coming years, the stability or slight decrease in first grade students in Arab education, and a decrease in the percentage of Ultra-Orthodox students out of all Jewish students.
Dr. Yizhak Geiger
In the past few years, the study of Civics has become an integral part of the Israeli curriculum. This development, which is positive in its nature, was accompanied by fundamental failures such as inadequate preparation of the core curriculum and the publishing of unsuitable textbooks and materials. These steps were taken without proper public discussion and granted too much power to the current dominant ideological group in the Israeli academia, when it allowed it to design the curriculum according to its will and to leave a long term impression on the conscious of the citizens of Israel and the future of the State.
This position paper demonstrates that this failure is a painful blow on four dimensions: Zionist education, democratic education, the teaching of critical thinking, and the chance of reducing the tension between the various sectors of Israeli society. The full position paper, by Dr. Yizhak Geiger, civics teacher and former member of the civics committee in the Education Ministry, presents the situation report in detail and includes summaries and recommendations. Included in his recommendations are: revising the values and viewpoints included in the core curriculum, stressing the importance of supervision over the implementation of this plan, rewriting the tests and developing new literature in the subject. Read More
Prof. Yoav Gelber
For years, Israeli society has been in a state of bewilderment. It has been experiencing conflict over its identity, sources of authority and ethos. The line of division is the Six Day War – the elimination of the existential threat eroded the ethos of one for all in favor of self-fulfillment.
Under market and political pressures, educational institutions – universities, colleges and schools – speculate over the quality of their national purpose (and if they even have one), over their social function and over their academic and educational direction. The public controversies over the teaching of history in universities and schools reflect the Zionist movement’s loss of direction. Historians consider the contradictions between the extent and profundity of scientific work on the past and their desire to influence the present by means of participation in debates in the public sphere. Often the submission to the constraints of the media lowers the level of historical discussion and confines it to the framework, language, time and scope of television talk shows and newspaper opinion columns. Read More
Dr Zvi Tzameret, who served as the director of the Pedagogic Secretariat at the Ministry of Education in the years 2010 and 2011, sums up his period of office and presents a number of fundamental failings in the Israeli educational system: the limited functioning of the Pedagogic Secretariat; the politicization underlying the subject of Israeli culture; the multiplicity of subjects offered for the Bagrut examinations; the status of the core subjects; and the methods of teaching civics.