The best way to ensure Israel’s future is to strengthen both the Jewish and democratic nature of our country and its laws. The makeup of Israeli policy depends in great measure on academic research and the opinions of experts. Chronically, there is a dearth of researchers and professors who identify with both the Jewish-Zionist and democratic nature of our State and society. Most think-tanks and academic research centers in Israel work to oppose the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and the existence of the State of Israel as a Zionist state.
Their influence greatly affects the way that Israel is viewed both here and internationally. It even affects Israel’s own national agenda and policy. Until the establishment of the IZS, no organized body countered this influence and worked to formulate creative and implementable Zionist research and policy alternatives.
The IZS alone conducts and advances research and policy from the viewpoint of Jewish values as encompassing democratic ideas.
Our academic research papers are submitted to relevant bodies and decision makers. This enriches the national dialogue and ensures that Jewish and Zionist values are an integral part of our legal system and civil society.
The IZS works with many Knesset committees and lobbies, and meets regularly with the decision makers within the government.
The IZS is an incubator for creating and implementing a healthy, self-confident national perspective as a liberal Zionist state.
The IZS welcomes and encourages all elements and outlooks within the Zionist camp who seek to preserve and strengthen the character of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
AREAS OF RESEARCH
- A constitution for the Jewish state
- Basic law
- Israel among the nations
- Immigration policy
- Religion and State
When Israel declared its independence, the deadline for establishing a constitution was October 1, 1948.
The War of Independence then, and many other variables over the past 60+ years, have prevented its completion to this day.
In 1950, the Knesset accepted a compromise stating that the Constitution would be written one chapter at a time and that the chapters would eventually be combined into a complete and coherent Constitution. These laws are known as Basic Laws.
During the first decades of the State, the Knesset passed nine Basic Laws that dealt with the structure and authority of the government. As the years passed, various Constitution drafts were proposed by academics, lawyers and others. The 16th Knesset attempted to fulfill the decree and began conducting discussions regarding the establishment of an entire constitution. At the close of that Knesset’s term, a formulated draft was submitted by the committee to be continued by the 17th Knesset.
Academics, statesmen, judges, rabbis and other public figures gathered together at the Institute for Zionist Strategies and formulated a complete Constitution proposal for the State of Israel.
This proposal is detailed and contains the various components vital to a constitution. This Constitution emphasizes the sections defining the State of Israel as the National Home for the Jewish People and contains significant reforms regarding the relationship between the Judicial Branch and the Legislative and Executive Branches of government. The Constitution Team members are: Prof. Avi Diskin, Prof. Moshe Koppel, Prof. Berachyahu Lifshitz, Judge Uri Shtruzman (Retired), Rabbi Dov Be’eri, Dr. Yitzhak Klein, Yoel Golovensky, Attorney and Mr. Israel Harel.
In June 2006, the Institute for Zionist Strategies submitted its Constitution Proposal, entitled “A Constitution for the State of Israel”, to the Knesset and to the President of the State of Israel. The Constitution Committee attended the deliberation meetings held by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the 17th Knesset.
For a year afterwards, a number of position papers were submitted, and team members played a dominant role in the committee, specifically in the intensive discussions regarding the clauses concerning the Jewish identity of the State.
The Africa Israel Think Tank on Migrants
As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel today is a primary destination for non-Jewish migrants looking for better economic opportunities, as well as for those who seek asylum. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have crossed Israel’s borders in recent years, catching Israel unprepared. While the country is sympathetic to those whose lives are in danger, Israel cannot accommodate hundreds of thousands of migrants who are not physically in danger, but seek better economic conditions.
The country needs an immigration policy that offers asylum to those truly in need while protecting our citizens from demographic and economic chaos. The IZS initiated the creation of a Knesset committee on migrants, the Africa-Israel Think Tank which delves into all aspects of the issue in order to create appropriate legislation to address the needs of the country while caring for the welfare of those whose lives are threatened.
Israel Among the Nations
Founded on the advice of Ben-Dror Yemini, an investigative reporter very active internationally in refuting false and defamatory claims about Israel, the Israel Among the Nations research group makes informative materials accessible. We publicize research comparing legislation in Israel to that of other western democracies and show that Israeli law is in fact on par with other democracies. For example, laws in Israel that give certain benefits to veterans of the military is in fact similar to that of other democracies that do the same.
Israel is a very young country whose citizens have come from over 20 countries and a wide variety of cultures. New challenges and situations arise that require thought, research, discussion and policy to resolve. IZS researches these complex problems and offers solutions based on Jewish-Zionist and democratic values.