The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute views the fostering and strengthening of civil society as one of the pillars of democracy in Israel, and as the basis for an egalitarian, pluralistic, and tolerant society. A large part of the institute’s staff and intellectual resources is devoted to programs of research on, and enhancement of, civil society in Israel, with the of generating alternative knowledge and making it an integral part of public debate in Israel among decision makers and the public on matters involving the ways citizenship and civil policy are conceived. Special attention is paid to education, economics, gender, Arab society, and social justice.
The institute’s Civil Society Unit aims to promote the values of social responsibility and ethical commitment through its activity in a variety of forums: research groups, discussion groups, roundtables on key current issues related to social change, local and international conferences, and symposiums that are open to the public. All the forums are geared toward fostering connections between scholars from various disciplines, people working in the field, and makers and implementers of policy.