About the Conference
From a social perspective, the State of Israel is the most conservative country in the Western world. This conservative nature finds expression in various ways, including a connection to and respect for tradition, high levels of patriotism crossing sectorial and political boundaries, and high fertility rates nationally. Nonetheless, conservatism is only thinly present in Israeli political and intellectual conversation, and we have only recently seen hints of its development. In contrast to other countries, in which the varied opinions of the citizenry are reflected in political and intellectual discourse, the Israeli academy and intelligentsia – as well as the cultural, media, legal, and bureaucratic elite – are characterized by a pronounced progressivism. This, while the dominant conservative voice in the Israeli public is almost unheard in them. There is a stark incompatibility between the conservative instinct prevailing in Israel, and the lack of an intellectual movement complementing it, both drawing inspiration from it and nourishing it.
The Israeli conservative movement aims to resolve this lack, developing a distinctly Israeli and conservative school of thought, and a community affiliated with its ideas. The Israeli Conservatism Conference is a part of this effort. Its goal is to be a meeting place for partners in this movement, to discuss its aims, to hone and develop its ideas, and to motivate its members. Specifically – we seek to understand and outside the unique character of Israeli conservatism. For while conservatism has universal aspects to it, it is always centrally connected to something local – the particular traditions of every society in which it is found. The Israeli Conservative Conference is built around enriching the world of conservative thought and action by understanding its relation to Judaism, Zionism, and Israeli identity, as outlined in our foundational principles.
The ticket includes:
1. Entry to all conference lectures and panels.
2. Mingling with all main speakers and special guests.
3. Light refreshments and a full lunch.
4. A special event for all Tikvah Fund alumni in attendance.
Discounted tickets are available for students, Tikvah alumni, and subscribers to the Hashiloach journal and Shibboleth library.
We believe in the revived presence of the Jewish people in its land as a realization of the Zionist project and see in it the fulfillment of the ambitions of the Nation of Israel since the day it was exiled. We believe in the right of the Jewish nation to self-definition through its democratic nation-state. It is our obligation to protect and cultivate it, and to enrich and develop its culture and distinctive contributions to world – by ensuring the liberty and prosperity of all of its citizens and residents.
We believe in strengthening interpersonal circles of identity: the individual, the family, the community, the nation, and the society. Our choices, culture, and traditions should be honored and preserved, and given space to develop, flourish, and serve as touchstones in our lives. This principle of identity should be expressed in the structure and character of governance as well: through the refraining of governmental coercion in the realms of individual and family action; in dispersing more power to local authorities, who will use it to serve the good of their communities; in giving expression to the national character of the Jewish nation-state; and in keeping the balance of powers between government branches, allowing for the democratic principle to bring to expression the will of the public through its elected representatives.
We believe in civic responsibility and governmental humility. This principle should be symbolized through patriotism, love of our fellow citizens and a commitment to our nation, land, and those in need of aid. But it does not entail statism, an elevation of the state, and endowing government with the powers to run the lives of its citizens. This principle should be expressed in economic liberty, which gives the individual his personal freedom and enables the wealth of talents in the Chosen People, in its sons and daughters, to evolve and be realized for the good of the nation and the world entire. Lastly, this principle should be realized through the passage of legislation meant to reflect the values of our society rather than to mandate them, and through moderation in all things related to setting and implementing public policy.
We believe in the significance of ideas and in the mutual cross-fertilization between the Jewish tradition and the Western tradition, which together form much of the basis for Israeli culture, and of the mixing between these two traditions with the other components of our culture. We must engage in joint study to explore these intellectual and spiritual legacies, and to develop our distinctive culture and to move toward a productive public and intellectual discourse with depth.