Jerusalem and the Jewish People: Unity and Division – Interim Report

This report does not cover the full findings of the seminars – these will be presented in the full report slated for publication at the end of summer 2017. Still, it is worth stating even in this preliminary and partial report that in the context of trying to identify the gap (or lack thereof) between reality and vision, we narrowed the discourse to frame it in a way that suits discussion and analysis. We focused on four main areas of interest – all of which were on discussion seminar agendas.

  1. Demographic trends pertaining to Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and what they mean for its future.
  2. Societal and cultural developments stemming from these changes, and what they could mean for Jerusalem’s future.
  3. Political questions that could affect Jerusalem’s future.
  4. The input of Jews around the world in articulating a vision for Jerusalem, and how it should be realized.

Obviously, these topics do not cover all the possible angles from which Jerusalem can be viewed. But we believe that by focusing on them specifically JPPI Dialogue participants considered most of the areas where decisions – by Israeli authorities and Jewish institutions – are likely to be made. JPPI’s goal is to offer decision makers a better understanding of where Jews stand on Jerusalem today, and where they would like to take it in the future.

Obviously, some of the discussion topics are highly charged, and we did not expect consensus positions would emerge from the sessions we conducted. However, previous reports taught us that by listening to the Jewish voices we could learn a great deal, and derive many useful recommendations that might lead to better policies – policies that diminish rather than exacerbate divisions.

Making as many Jews feel at home in Israel underpins JPPI’s William Davidson Foundation supported Pluralism and Democracy Project. It is not difficult to see how a similar ideal could apply to Jerusalem specifically.