Metzilah - October 2011 Newsletter

Metzilah Center Wishes it's friends a Happy and sweet New Year

Dear Friends of the Metzilah Center,

Metzilah Center is currently finishing up a year of significant activity. This year we
implemented a process of strategic thought, whose purpose was to define well, in light of our vision, the purposes of the organization and its methods of operation.

The culmination of this process was the decision to upgrade the method and scope of Metzilah’s activities to that of a policy institute. As such, we will both continue to put out high quality policy papers on focused topics that stand at the heart of our disciplines, and add activities that will enable greater influence and inculcation of the values and ideas that we promote, among decision-makers and opinion-makers in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world.

In order to fulfill our objectives, we have broadened and restructuredour internal 
institutions that lead the activities of the Metzilah Center. We established an academic council, updated the face of our governing bord, and put forth meaningful and exciting objectives.

We hope that we will rise to the challenge, gather the necessary resources for
these activities, and as such, succeed in formulating and implementing the vision we are advancing.

Further to the strategic thought process, I have taken upon myself the job ofleading the building and implementation of our detailed work plans.

Relating to work plans, the Metzilah Center continues its significant activities, the
highlights of which are noted in this newsletter.

We will continue to update you on our progress, and we are interested in hearing from you as well. Please do not hesitate to turn to us with any idea, question or suggestion.

I wish all of you, as individuals and as a nation, Shanah Tovah: “This should be the end of a year and its curses and the beginning of a year and its blessings”.

Ofer Glanz

The Metzilah Center

was founded in 2005, to address the growing tendency among Israelis and Jews worldwide to question the legitimacy of Jewish Nation State and its compatibility with universal values

Israel Prize in Law Awarded to Professor Ruth Gavison on Yom Ha’atzmaut

On Yom Haatzmaut, the State of Israel expressed its recognition of the contribution of
the academic and public works of Ruth Gavison and awarded her the Israel Prize.

Prof. Gavison spoke at the award ceremony in the name of the other Prize winners. Her speech can be read here:

Following her receipt of the Prize, Prof. Gavison’s personal activities, as well as those of
the Metzilah Center received much exposure in the press and other media.

Professor Gavison was interviewed in Hebrew on the program

“Hotzeh Yisrael,” with Kobi Meidan.

Following the awarding of the Israel Prize, an article on Professor Gavison and Metzilah
was published by Gil Troy in the
Jewish Week.

Recent Publications by Metzilah
English version of the position paper “Return of the Palestinian Refugees to the State of Israel”.
Over the course of the year, we published an English version of the position paper
written by Professor Yafa Zilbershatz and Mrs. Nimra Goren on the topic of the “Return
of the Palestinian Refugees to the State of Israel”. Both the
Hebrew and the English
versions of the paper have stirred significant interest by the media.

The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed on the Right of Return.

The Law of Return at Sixty Years
An English version of the position paper on the topic of  “The Law of Return at Sixty Years: History, Ideology, and Justification.” was published.

This paper deals with one of the key laws in the State of Israel. It expresses one of the important ideals of the Zionist movement and of the State: the ingathering of exiles and the establishment of a national homeland in Israel for the Jewish people. The law also serves as a focal point for some of the deep disputes surrounding the nation and its identity, such as “who is a Jew” and the relationship between this issue  and the question of who should be permitted to immigrate to Israel and what rights these immigrants have. Despite this, it appears that the awareness of the general public of the law of return and related issues is not very high or systematic.
The purpose of the position paper is to publicly present the law that symbolizes, more
than any other law, the Jewishness of the State; the connection between Jews in Israel and those in the Diaspora and the way that Israel; and the realization of the goals of the
Zionist movement. It attempts to come to terms with the principal objections to the law or
the arguments in favor of a statute of limitations on the law. It ties the debate surrounding
the mandates of the law and the implementation of the policy of aliyah, together with
fundamental concepts of the identity of the State and its justifications.

Sixty Years Since The Decision of November 29, 1947
We are currently finalizing a  translation into English of the paper  “Sixty Years Since the
Decision of November 29, 1947” . This important document is becoming
ever more relevant in light of the recent events in the UN.

Civil Marriages
We are now in the midst of a process aimed at writing  a position paper dealing with the issue of civil marriages.
The position paper is being written by Professor Pinchas Shifman and Dr. Avishalom
Westreich. We hope to be able to inform you of the completion of this important work in
the beginning of 2012.


Meztilah Center receives many requests from various groups/spheres for lectures on
issues that are in the core  work of the Center.

Professor Gavison has delivered a large number of lectures, in various fora, including participation in a panel at  the "Tomorrow- The Israeli  Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, presentation before an international organization of Jewish lawyers and jurists, “Tikvah” program for excellent students, lectures in front of senior staff of the “Binah” Center, the group for the learning of history in Beer Sheva, and more.

In addition, Professor Gavison led  two tours in North America in April and
May. The tours took place in coordination with the local consuls. In the framework of
these travels, Prof. Gavison lectured before academics, students, organizational
representatives, and was interviewed by the media at Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago
and Toronto.

In the month of August, Prof. Gavison was invited to lecture at Monash University in Australia, and also lectured at the University of Melbourne and in the Jewish community of Melbourne. Similarly, Prof. Gavison lectured this past June at the University of Amsterdam.

In addition, the Board of Directors and the Academic Council of Metzilah organized a number of lectures on the topics of Metzilah: Prof. Gidi Shimoni,  Dr. Gadi Taub, and Dr. Alex Yakobson lectured in the framework of a training course for envoys from the Jewish Agency.

It is possible to read these and other articles, publications and lectures on the website for

Articles and Speeches

A Bi-Delusional State – by Alex Yakobson - Published in haaretz in July 2010. 

“What’s in a Name – article by Dr. Alex Yakobson on a Jewish and democratic nation.
Publish by Haaretz in August 2010.

Experts: No legal basis for Palestinian refugee demands - Article by Ariella Ringel on YNET (August 2010) about Metzilah’s position paper on the Plestinian Right of Return. 

The Law of Return: A Virtual Debate
Separated into 3 parts, a virtual debate between Ruth Gavison, Alexander Yakobson, and 
Ran Greenstein

Zionism and Democratic Values are Compatible

-Interview with Prof. Gavison, May 17th, 2010, Chicago Public Radio

Reviving Liberal Zionism - Article by Gil Troy in the Jewish Week on the awarding of the Israel Prize to Prof. Gavison. Published May 2011,

 Israel Observes a Special Independence Day – A column by Uri Dromi, posted May 12, 2011, The Miami Herald:

A Jewish, Judiac and Judaistic state - article by Dr. Alex Yakobson on the proposed new Basic Law defining Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. Publish by Haaretz in August 2011.

The Metzilah Center

for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought

P.O. Box 8435
Jerusalem 91083

Phone: 972-77-4020771

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