Conference: Israel as a Jewish State

Israel as a Jewish State

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland

March 7-8, 2010

URL for Registraton: http://www.israelstudies.umd.edu/conference/index.html

Ever since Theodore Herzl’s time, argument has raged over the meaning of the “Jewish State”. Much of it has focused on the appropriate role of religion in the state’s laws and practices.

With the growth of religiosity in the state and the sharp increase in the number of religious citizens – neither development foreseen by Israel’s founders – the arguments have become fiercer. Different streams of Jewish practice – Haredi, Modern Orthodox, conservative, Reform, and “secular” compete either for recognition or to delegitimize their rivals.

Meanwhile, many citizens define themselves as simply “Israeli” rather than “Jewish”.

This conference will address the provocative themes of the nature and role of democracy, identity and Jewish religion in the Israeli context. How can Israel balance the competing claims of its Jewish self-definition with a commitment to democratic pluralism? Moreover, how can it best choose among frequently contradictory religious and social values, a path that all its citizens can live with?


Program:

Sunday March 7

Tyser Auditorium,
Van Munching Hall (Smith School of Business),
University of Maryland, College Park.



8:30am-9:00am
Breakfast (coffee and pastries) and registration



9:00am-9:15am
Welcome and opening



9:15am-11:00am
Session 1:

Is Israel “ the Jewish State”?

How the avowed Jewish character of Israel influences – or should influence – the politics and government of the State

  • Professor Shlomo Fischer,
    Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem
  • Professor Shlomo Hasson,
    The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Dr. Bernard Avishai,
    The Hebrew University, Author, Jerusalem
  • Profesor Amiel Ungar,
    Journalist, Tekoa, West Bank



11:00am-11:15am
Break



11:15am-12:00pm
Keynote address

  • Professor Yuli Tamir,
    Member of Knesset and former Minister of Education
    ,
    Tel Aviv



12:15pm-1:45pm
Lunch



1:45pm-3:30pm
Session 2:

Do Jews in Israel Have Religious Freedom?
The Issue of Pluralism

The competing goals and values of semi-official religious Orthodoxy and those of secular and non-orthodox religious groups and interests

  • Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum,
    Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Jerusalem
  • Rabbi Avi Shafran,
    Agudath Israel, New York
  • Professor Bernard Cooperman,
    University of Maryland
  • Chair: Professor Eric Zakim,
    University of Maryland



3:30pm-4:00pm
Break



4:00pm-5:45pm
Session 3:

Religion and Democracy in Israel:
Are Judaism and Democratic Values Compatible?

Are citizens’ rights unacceptably diminished by Israel’s Jewish character?

  • Dr. Aviad Hacohen,
    Van Leer Institute and The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Professor Yoram Peri,
    Gildenhorn Institute, University of Maryland
  • Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt,
    Israel Advocacy Office of the Rabbinical Assembly, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Phyllis Chesler
    Psychologist and Author. New York



5:45pm-6:00pm
Break



6:00pm-7:00pm

Annual Elizabeth and Richard Dubin Lecture
and Ambassador’s Reception

  • His Excellency Michael Oren,
    Ambassador of Israel to the United States



7:00pm-8:00pm
Reception


Monday March 8

Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars,
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C.



Noon – 2:30pm
Session 4:

Luncheon
Religion and the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Religious values and ideologies – Jewish, Muslim, Christian – and their consequences for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

  • Professor Yuli Tamir,
    Member of Knesset and former Israeli Minister of Education, Tel Aviv
  • Professor Shibley Telhami,
    Anwar Sadat Chair, University of Maryland
  • Professor Edward Luttwak,
    Center for Strategic and International Studies,
    Washington, D.C.
  • Chair: Professor Yoram Peri,
    Gildenhorn Institute, University of Maryland

 

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