The Beyond the Liberal Imagination forum is an intellectual community that addresses the challenge of shared life in Israel and aims to examine the country’s politics, society, and spirit beyond the usual imaginations in the academic and public discourse. The forum was founded in 2021 as a joint undertaking of the Shaharit Institute and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

The forum perceives Israeli society as acting under conditions of “deep diversity” and seeks to contend with this situation from a postliberal analytic position. Such a postliberal position is a way of thinking that views liberalism as a powerful and important theoretical and political framework, but also understands that it is rooted in history and limited by social, epistemic, and moral boundaries too narrow to encompass other Israeli visions of a moral, political, and intellectual order.

This postliberal perspective does not reject liberal values on the normative level, nor does it seek to detract from their legitimacy. Its uniqueness lies in its recognition of liberalism as a particular tradition that is not necessarily suited to serving in a double role: both as one player among many in a varied social context and as the ultimate and sole mediator among its various communities. Therefore, in this case, postliberalism refers both to the critical analysis of the liberal grammar of social knowledge and to an unfettered interpretive position that has the capacity to examine interpretive and political alternatives for shared life within deep diversity.

The members of the community include scholars in the humanities and social sciences, civil society activists, educators, and members of the media. The community aims to broaden the political imagination in Israel and to examine the implementation of such a broadening on the academic, intellectual, political, and civil levels. The community conducts “closed” discussions, as well as excursions and direct meetings with diverse communities in order to foster in-depth study, research, and shared and renewed thinking.

We are seeking colleagues who feel dissatisfied with the political imaginations and widespread paradigms of thought and wish to break through the existing matrix to new and fresh logics and actions.