The National Initiative for Strengthening the Humanities in Israeli Society

Sunday ,13 November, 2011 , 14:45 to 17:00

In recent years we have seen a continuing erosion of the status of the humanities in Israel – in institutions of higher learning, in the education system, and in the public sphere. We believe that this situation must be changed in order to strengthen and enrich Israeli society and to prevent the diminishing, superficializing, and stagnation of the discourse in the country’s social, economic, cultural, and political arenas.

To this end, over a period of a year and a half, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute – in conjunction with the Council for Higher Education, the institutions of higher education, the Planning and Budgeting Committee, and individuals working in education, business, and the media – spearheaded a national initiative to strengthen the humanities in Israel. This initiative included the creation of several teams that formulated conclusions and recommendations on how to strengthen the humanities. These were presented in November 2011 to the representatives of various bodies. We are now examining ways of implementing the recommendations.
The success of the national initiative depends on the ability to implement these recommendations and to formulate modes of action that are creative, multisystemic, and agreed-upon, including the establishment of an administrative body, consisting of representatives from all the relevant institutions, that will spearhead and be responsible for the implementation. Israel is open to true change for the better, and it is important to take this opportunity to help the humanities again flourish in the way that they, and Israeli society, deserve.
Further details can be found in the following links, all in Hebrew.
The National Initiative for Strengthening the Humanities in Israeli Society
Recommendations of the Work Teams 
Abstract of the Recommendations 
On November 13, 2011, a plenary meeting  took place in which the teams’ recommendations  were presented. The presentations can be found in the booklet that was distributed at the meeting.
Media Coverage
Coverage of the conference by Razi Barkai, Ma Bo’er (What’s Hot) on Army Radio (including a response by the director-general of the Education Ministry, Ms. Dalit Stauber)