The seventh annual David Hartman Memorial Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel was held at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem on February 14, 2017.
The Conference, whose theme this year was, "Were We Like Dreamers? From Six Days to Fifty Years," drew more than 500 participants throughout the evening, including 120 mechina (Israeli pre-Army gap year program) students from the Institute’s own Hevruta program, and Mechinat Ein Prat, as well as an additional 2,000 online for a webinar program.
A post-event survey found broad approval of the event, praise for the theme, and for the depth and quality of the presentations.
The items below are shown in chronological order of the event, from the opening session to the evening’s lectures in memory of Hartman Institute founder David Hartman. (Note: With the exception of the webinar featuring Yossi Klein Halevi, the Conference sessions were in Hebrew.)
Donniel Hartman, Tamar Elad Appelbaum, Asher Cohen, Renana Ravitzky Pilzer Hebrew)
Israel Knohl, Yishay Rosen Zvi, Biti Roi
Holiness, sovereignty, and God’s direct and exclusive dominance over Israel were discussed in this session. These factors created the distinctions between Israel and the nations, and between those who are within Israel’s territory and those who are outside Israel. Sovereignty determines the site of God’s worship.
Eliezer Cohen, Yishai Sarid, Rut Kara Ivanov Kaniel
The discussion in this session was held mainly about Yishai Sarid’s third book and the sources of his inspiration, as well as the poems of Eliaz Cohen on the same subject. Dr. Ruth Kara mediated an active and lively dialogue between the two. The discussion was somewhat pessimistic, but full of interesting and amusing anecdotes.
Tomer Persico, Orit Avnery, Yohana Katanchu, Ghaida Rinawie-Zoabi
The discussion was held about the holy places, and the three monotheistic religions’ attitude to holiness. The panel referred to the complex view their believers hold about Jerusalem.
Yehuda Yifrach, Dani Segal, Shraga Bar-On, Michal Nagan (Discussion in Hebrew)
More than 200 conference participants attended the session, which featured four settlers from different communities, all of whom shared their personal stories and connection to the Land of Israel and the settlement movement. Yehuda Yifrach of Tekoa talked about Judea and Samaria as the beating heart of religious Zionism. Rabbi Dani Segal of Alon spoke of the unique contribution to community building that settlements can offer. Rabbanit Michal Nagan from Otniel offered stories of personal connections made possible only by living over the Green Line.
Session chair Shraga Bar On, of Beit Horon, referenced biblical connections and a sense of home, as the reasons he chose to live where he does. Participants asked a number of provocative questions related to the morality of the settlement enterprise and sparked a heated discussion. Shraga Bar On closed the session by noting that this is just the beginning of an important conversation for Israeli society.
Pini Ifergan spoke about human rights and the basic law of human dignity and liberty. Avi Sagi spoke about the relationship between us and our land.
Yossi Klein Halevi in conversation with Alan Abbey
Preceding the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, Shalom Hartman Media Director Alan Abbey sat down with Hartman Institute Senior Fellow and award-winning author Yossi Klein Halevi to discuss the events of 1967. The conversation began with an analysis of the days preceding the war, and continued in chronological order. The discussion addressed the lasting impact that the Israeli victory has had on Jewish peoplehood both in Israel and abroad, including the ongoing conflict with Palestinians. The discussion concluded by providing a glimpse into Israel’s future, and was followed by a question and answer session with audience members. The program was livecast on the Hartman website to an audience of more than 2,000 online viewers.
Donniel Hartman, Ariel Picard, Dr. Ruth Calderon